The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce
Deirdre N. McCloskey. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
Alan Ryan, “Is Capitalism Good for You?”
The New York Review of Books,
December 21, 2006.
Wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, faith, hope and charity (love)
Seven virtues derived from: Cicero, Paul, Aristotle, (Plato & Socrates?)
(Justice, liberality and mercy) or [Tillich’s Faith, Hope and Love]
During the sixteenth century in northern Europe, predominantly the Rhine Valley, but especially the Netherlands, concomitant changes took place in society.
Upper class middle class commercial
Disdain for the public’s opinion widest circulation
Passion for liberty materialist (laissez faire)
Defense of honor defense of contracts
Personal heroism will of the masses
“Bad money drives out good” easy credit widely accessible
“McCloskey wants to defend something close to the libertarian free market utopia, a society where capitalists and workers are unfettered by the state in the pursuit of profit and prosperity but constrained by their own moral allegiances.”
“merely the best of all imperfect solutions to the problems of human existence.”
“The Bourgeois Virtues is such an impressive collection of intellectual riches that it disarms criticism in the usual sense.”
Notes on presenting this middle way.
Between the devil and the deep blue sea (dilemma of the middle ground)
One must avoid both:
Scylla of natural rights
Charybdis of Platonic justice
neither one nor the other:
Republican virtues (Cicero) nor maximum Utility of the Pareto optimum
Neither the military nor the clergy (2d Estate)
Where demonstrated power and force Where faith in charity and mercy
Dominate social virtue and civic life.
Hobbes Leviathan nor Rousseau’s general will
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (died Feb 27, 2007, NYC) see: The Essential Middle