In recent decades social activists and scholars have increasingly portrayed philanthropy in tension with commerce and morally elevated the quest for social justice over acts of market exchange. This class will explore the tensions that have emerged between the supposed moral good of social justice and “philanthropy” and the supposed moral bad of commerce. Drawing upon Biblical concepts of charity and Adam Smith's discussion of justice and beneficence in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, we will lay the groundwork for an understanding of the essential role of an ethic of beneficence, properly understood, for the realization of human flourishing.
- Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Penguin, 2010)*
*(selections attached in Course Materials or can be found at http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smMS2.html)
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir on Pauperism (Ivan R. Dee, 1997)*
*(A fairly short essay that can be found online.)