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Markets And Morals: The Limits Of Doux Commerce, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2018

Markets And Morals: The Limits Of Doux Commerce, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

In this essay for a symposium on Professor Nathan Oman's new book, The Dignity of Commerce, I do three things. First, I describe what I take to be the central message of the book, namely, that markets promote liberal values of tolerance, pluralism, and cooperation among rival, even hostile groups. Second, I show how Oman's argument draws from a line of political and economic thought that dates to the Enlightenment, the so-called "doux commerce" thesis of thinkers like Montesquieu and Adam Smith. Finally, I discuss what I consider the most penetrating criticism of that thesis, Edmund Burke's critique from …