Virtuous Capitalism

by Jerry O’Driscoll 

Over at the Austrian Economists, Steve Horowitz has posted a challenging statement and asked for reactions: “The great virtue of the free market is that it requires so little virtue to work effectively.”  The thrust of the responses is that defenders of free markets have had little to say about virtue (at least since Adam Smith).  

In a brilliant paper for APEE a few years ago, Liberty Fund’s Doug den Uyl asked whether we need ethics if we have free markets. That is a broader question, but on point.  Do markets discipline transactors to act virtuously and ethically?  Many would be tempted to answer affirmatively, but that would be facile. (Doug is not facile.)   Continue reading