by Jerry Z. Muller
published by Anchor
© 2002 by Jerry Z. Muller
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The author, a professor of history at Catholic University of America
in Washington, D.C., examines the moral, social, and political implications
of capitalism through the eyes of more than a dozen European thinkers.
Some--such as Adam Smith, Joseph Schumpeter, and Friedrich Hayek--are
conventionally regarded as economists, while others--including Voltaire
and Karl Marx--were philosophers who wrote in either support or criticism
of the market-based society. A recurrent theme is the early Christian
belief that commerce (the trading of goods produced by others for profit)
and finance (profiting from money itself) were immoral. However, once
these activities became a necessary part of society, the anti-Semitic
environment of Europe forced the Jews, who were traditionally farmers
and craftsmen, into the roles of money handlers. This work is an in-depth
study of the origins of thought about markets and their effects on people,
when thinking men easily questioned whether capitalism is good for people.
It is a wonderful contrast to today's blind worship of materialism and
economic progress. ~~ David Siegfried
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