ISBN : 9780190096212
Can capitalism have moral foundations? Though this question may seem strange in today's world of vast economic disparities and widespread poverty, discussions originating with the birth of capitalism add a critical perspective to the current debate on the efficacy and morality of capitalist economies. Authors Daniel Halliday and John Thrasher use this question to introduce classical political philosophy as a framework by which to evaluate the ethics of capitalism today. They revisit and reconstruct historical eighteenth- and nineteenth-century defenses of capitalism, as written by key proponents such as Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. They ask what these early advocates of market order would say about contemporary economies, and argue for the importance of connecting these foundational defenses to discussions of economic systems and the roles they play in economic justice and injustice today. The textbook covers longstanding problems that are as old as the discussion of capitalism itself, such as wage inequality, global trade, and the connection between paid labor and human flourishing. It also addresses new challenges, such as climate change, the welfare state, and competitive consumption, and provides topical global case studies. Additionally, it includes study questions at the end of each chapter and an author-created companion website to help guide classroom discussion.
Chapter 1: Introduction: What is this book about?
1. Everyone hates capitalism?
2. What is capitalism?
3. What are the alternatives to capitalism?
4. Ethics of Capitalism: an oxymoron?
Chapter 2: Capitalism seemed like a good idea at the time: The rise and fall (and resurrection?) of Political Economy
1. 1770-1868: The Golden Age of Political Economy
2. The Fragmented Age: Economics and Political Philosophy in the 20th Century
3. The Idea of Economic Justice
Chapter 3: Getting out of feudalism--and staying out!
1. Feudalism and Capitalism
2. Great Escapes: Australian convicts, American radicals, and other heroes
3. Signs of a revival of feudalism?
4. Inherited wealth and the return of the 'rentier'
5. Big business and labor market domination
Chapter 4: Market Order and Market Failure
1. Spontaneous orders and why they matter
2. Prices and information
3. Can markets fail?
4. Markets behaving badly
a. Price gouging
b. Positional goods
c. Public goods
5. Market failure or government failure?
Chapter 5: So, why not socialism?
1. The century of socialism
2. What is socialism?
3. Types of socialism
a. Utopian socialism
4. Market socialism
5. Problems with socialism
6. Ideals and reality
7. Ethical socialism
Chapter 6: Low wages and lousy jobs
1. The old stories: Malthus, Mill, and competitions among the unskilled
2. What makes a lousy job lousy?
3. Is alienated labor under-rated?
4. Exploitation-not getting out what you put in
5. Exploitation-alternatives to Marx
6. The new story: runaway incomes at the top
Chapter 7: The welfare state and its rivals
1. Labor markets and the minimum wage
2. The classic welfare state
3. Subsidized idleness or empowerment for the masses? The case for Universal Basic Income
4. Prevention is better than cure? Property owning democracy
6. Comparing Systems
Chapter 8: We are the world, or how I learned to stop worrying and love global trade
1. Globalization-the new common enemy?
2. Homo Mercator
3. Why do we trade, anyway?
4. The British Empire and the persistence of pseudo-trade
5. The old skepticism: mercantilism and why the British Empire was actually bad for the British
6. The new skepticism: populism in the 21st century
7. Trade injustice in the 21st century
8. If trade isn't the enemy, then what (or who) is?
a. Protectionism and subsidizing failing industries
b. Mobility of capital and its impact on taxation
Chapter 9: Keeping up with the Jones's (and the Kardashians): Positional goods and wars of all against all
1. We can't all be better than average
2. Zero-sum versus positive-sum
3. Capitalism's greatest disappointment?
4. Arms races, good and bad
5. Peace treaties and finish lines
Chapter 10: Why are we still working so hard?
1. Keynes and the 15-hour week
2. What jobs are machines stealing, and how?
3. More on machine misbehavior
4. The (moral) importance of leisure time
5. The end of work?
Chapter 11: Do markets wreck the planet?
1. Stories of destruction
a. Markets aren't the only culprits
b. Resources often get consumed more readily than conserved
c. Resources aren't intrinsically limited
2. Why is the environment so vulnerable? Collective action problems and the distribution of incentives
3. If it ain't broke don't sell it? Planned obsolescence
4. Who wants to shoot a rhino? Markets and conservation
Chapter 12: Boldly going where no market has gone before--should some things not be for sale?
1. Kidneys, used underwear, and tossed dwarfs: intuitive discomfort about commodification
2. The moral downsides of prohibition
3. Are some things beyond price?
4. Markets as hierarchy-reinforcers
5. Maybe it's all just too much? Privacy and the need for (any kind of) market-free zone