Communities and Markets: Friend or Foe?

Day 2
Session 4
5:05 PM

Market transactions may consist in exchanges of goods but market exchanges also express, strengthen or weaken values and social norms. Without values and norms coming from specific types of communities like families, churches, neighborhoods and nations—communities whose purpose goes beyond efficient market exchanges—it becomes difficult to make market behavior morally uplifting behavior rather than morally corrosive behavior. This lecture will first consider both classical liberal and sociological approaches to communities and markets. Then we will examine whether the potentially morally corrosive effects of markets on individuals who may be vulnerable to market economies, such as children, women, the poor, and the disabled, can be mitigated by communities that both value free market exchanges but also protect those who are not able to compete successfully in the market.


Recommended Readings

Albert Hirschman, “Rival Views of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive or Feeble?” Journal of Economic Literature. Vol. XX (December 1982), pp. 1463-1484.

Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger). “Market Economy and Ethics.” Article presented in 1985 in a symposium in Rome, “Church and Economy in Dialogue.” Published on the Acton Institute Blog July 1, 2009.

Viviana Zelizer. “The Priceless Child Turns Twenty-Seven.” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 5 (Fall 2012): 449-456. In special essay section, “Pricing the Priceless Child: a Retrospective.”

Viviana Zelizer. “Rethinking Markets, Monies, and Organizations” (An Interview). The Hedgehog Review, Summer 2009.