Jennifer Bakers book Economics and the Virtues: Building a New Moral Foundation has been rated “Highly Recommended by CHOICE.
The literature attempting to qualify rational choice economic modeling has been steadily growing. This book contains 12 essays designed to infuse virtue-guided thinking into that methodology. The 14 authors bring well-documented insights from philosophy, economics, and other social sciences. Part 1 features the virtue ethics of Aristotle, the satisfying lifestyle of the Epicurians, and the indifferent approach of the Stoics, as well as insightful treatments of Adam Smith’s moral theory and Kant’s focus on the purpose and goals of economic life. Part 2 contains essays describing how economics separated itself from virtue considerations, but how it might see the practical wisdom of virtue ethics and economic theory as complementary pieces of resource allocation analysis. Part 3 explores real world issues suggesting that the markets for private and public goods require trust and constructive social norms to be effective. One essay claims that market activity itself can promote some of these essential items. These essays are valuable additions to the literature on virtue and its place in economics. When philosophy and economics come together like this, a careful reading will take time, but the effort will be rewarded.
–J. Halteman, Wheaton College
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.