Are Markets Moral?


Are markets moral? Every day millions of
people around the world depend on markets to satisfy their basic needs, to
keep in touch with friends and loved ones, to perk up and to relax. So why is
it that capitalism and its supporters are often portrayed in popular
literature and scholarly debate as monsters? Vampire capitalism is said to
suck the blood of workers, further enriching the wealthy and impoverishing
the disadvantaged. Zombie capitalism is lumbering around the landscape, eating
human brains and turning us into mindless withered things. Demon
capitalism possesses us all, turning us into slavish soulless creatures who
produce only what we are told to produce and consume only what we are told to
consume. A common thread running through these criticisms of the market is the
notion that markets are morally corrupting but this criticism of markets
is at root and empirical rather than a philosophical claim. We can evaluate
whether or not it is true that markets are likely to be morally corrupting
using a theoretical understanding of how markets can and should work and on the
basis of evidence regarding how markets do work. People who live in market
societies are wealthier, happier, healthier, and better connected than
people who live in non-market societies. These benefits are not only enjoyed by
the privileged few in these communities the least advantaged in market societies
are better off than the least advantaged in non-market societies, and may be
better off than the most well-off in some non-market societies this material
fact argue Ginny Seung Choi and Virgil Henry Storr is of moral significance. In
their book, “Do Markets Corrupt Our Morals?” they demonstrate that relative to people
in non-market societies people in market societies are less materialistic, give
more to charity, are less corrupt and more likely to be cosmopolitan trusting
and trustworthy. Rather than being morally corrupting, the market is a moral
training ground that offers us opportunities to discover others who
have the moral qualities that we admire and where virtuous behavior is rewarded
and immoral behavior is punished in markets.
So, are markets morally corrupting? To dig into the details of how the market may
actually improve morality, read “Do Markets Corrupt Our Morals?” published by
Palgrave Macmillan

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