- The Oxford Handbook of Freedom
- Self-Ownership as a Form of Ownership
- Positive Freedom and the General Will
- Moralized Conceptions of Liberty
- On the Conflict Between Liberty and Equality
- Freedom and Equality
- The Point of Self-Ownership
- Platonic Freedom
- Aristotelian Freedom
- Freedom in the Scholastic Tradition
- Freedom, Slavery, and Identity in Renaissance Florence: The Faces of Leon Battista Alberti
- Freedom and Enlightenment
- Adam Smith’s Libertarian Paternalism
- Market Failure, the Tragedy of the Commons, and Default Libertarianism in Contemporary Economics and Policy
- Planning, Freedom, and the Rule of Law
- Freedom, Regulation, and Public Policy
- Boundaries, Subjection to Laws, and Affected Interests
- Democracy and Freedom
- Can Constitutions Limit Government?
- Freedom and Religion
- Freedom and Influence in Formative Education
- Freedom and the (Posthumous) Harm Principle
- Exploitation and Freedom
- Voluntariness, Coercion, Self-ownership
- The Impartial Spectator and the Moral Teachings of Markets
- Disciplinary Specialization and Thinking for Yourself
- Free Will as a Psychological Accomplishment
- Prisoners of Misbelief: The Epistemic Conditions of Freedom
Abstract and Keywords
Market skeptics have persuasively argued that the market is a social arena that is not simply amoral but that has negative moral consequences. Market apologists have offered two basic responses to this kind of charge: that the market is amoral, and that it transforms private vice into public virtue. This chapter discusses the moral teachings of the market—that is, the moral sentiments individuals are likely to acquire and develop as they engage in the market. Relying on Adam Smith’s discussions of the “impartial spectator,” that imaginary figure that each of us constructs to offer us moral guidance as we negotiate our lives, it is argued that there are good reasons to believe that our impartial spectators might be changed by our dealings in the market. Rather than celebrating selfishness and greed, the market tends to punish both vices. While the market is unlikely to promote the traditional virtues in the form that they are promoted in other contexts, the market is a moral teacher that rewards and so encourages virtuous behavior.
Virgil Henry Storr Research Associate Professor of Economics and Director of Graduate Student Programs in the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
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