Friday, December 23, 2011

Competition and Virtue

Michael Walzer in a very interesting short essay.

Does competition corrupt us? Do markets thwart virtue?


  1. Interesting. I am sure your readers are well aware of McCloskey's take on this which of course I am persuaded by. I'd only add that the essay is lacking when its overt or implicit message is that regulation could encourage virtue in the market, or at least thwart badness.

    Certainly I hope the author recognizes that the source of competition does not originate in markets but in scarcity and so I tend to find criticisms of market competition to be like blaming your fork for the bad taste of your peas.

  2. I'll second wintercow20's comments.

    Walzer's first sentence makes reference to "the ordinary rules of decent conduct," and I wonder just where he imagines these rules came from. It appears he is taking WEIRD* attitudes as the normal and normative, but it is the WEIRD historical experience which has shaped what is our view of decent conduct.

    *WEIRD being the acronym that Heinrich and others use to refer to that subset of the world's population which is Westernized, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?