Monday, May 27, 2013

Is Deirdre McCloskey a Euvoluntary Exchanger?

Many apologies to longtime readers, but I have decided to scuttle the assonant "euvoluntaryist" for purely aesthetic reasons. Invoking McCloskey is therefore particularly apropos, as I struggle to develop a list of economists who are within even a standard deviation of writing as elegantly as her.

After all, part of the euvoluntary project is a quest for that beautiful common ground that suffuses much of McCloskey's recent work. The plea from bourgeois virtue and the plea from euvoluntary exchange is similar in that they both urge readers to consider, if even briefly, the possibility that it is peaceful exchange, undergirded by a gentility of spirit demanded by an open marketplace free from coercion that lifts people out of desperate misery. To the extent that we share a set of common ideals like mercy, love, temperance, justice, trustworthiness, humility & al., it is through the civilizing and pacifying forces brought by bourgeois euvoluntary commerce that the flower of humanity blossoms.

And perhaps more to the point, it is through these civilizing institutions that the atavistic vices are dulled, subordinated, attenuated. He who clings to malice, wrath, obduracy, to picayune churlishness, to insolent parochialism or arrogant nationalism suffers disproportionately under a system that disproportionately rewards compassion, rejects coercion, and resists the dominion of man over man.

And how much more beautiful can you hope for a collection of conclusions? Those institutions that broaden the scope of euvoluntary exchange just happen to be the very ones that rely on the bourgeois virtues. Is Deirdre McCloskey a Euvoluntary Exchanger? It would be churlish of me to deny it.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Wilson,

    I must say you write elegantly, and with clarity. I guess I am, a eu-, that is!


    Deirdre McCloskey


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