Private Morality and Capitalism: Learning from the Past

Deepak Lal

in Making Globalization Good

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780199257010
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596223 | DOI:
 Private Morality and Capitalism: Learning from the Past

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This chapter traces the changing interface between societal and cultural values and capitalism as each has evolved since the later Middle Ages, asking to what extent can the past successes or failures of capitalism (in its various guises) be attributed to the moral ecology of the institutions underpinning and shaping it. It also asks what have been the ethical foundations of the great civilizations of the past, what part have social customs, cosmological beliefs, and religious authority played in this evolution, and what lessons can be drawn from the experiences of our forefathers. The last part of the chapter discusses of the role of post‐Westphalian states in influencing the moral content and structure of capitalism. During this discussion, the author offers some comparisons and contrasts between the actions taken by the liberal‐minded (Western) governments of the nineteenth century, and their more paternalistic modern counterparts.

Keywords: capitalism; cosmological beliefs; ethics; government; history; institutions; moral ecology; morality; religion; social customs; Western governments

Chapter.  9776 words. 

Subjects: International Economics

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