The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce

University of Chicago Press, 15 . 2007 . - 634 .
For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Menckens booboisie and David Brookss bobosall have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskeys The Bourgeois Virtues, a magnum opus that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us.

McCloskeys sweeping, charming, and even humorous survey of ethical thought and economic realitiesfrom Plato to Barbara Ehrenreichoverturns every assumption we have about being bourgeois. Can you be virtuous and bourgeois? Do markets improve ethics? Has capitalism made us better as well as richer? Yes, yes, and yes, argues McCloskey, who takes on centuries of capitalisms critics with her erudition and sheer scope of knowledge. Applying a new tradition of virtue ethics to our lives in modern economies, she affirms American capitalism without ignoring its faults and celebrates the bourgeois lives we actually live, without supposing that they must be lives without ethical foundations.

High Noon, Kant, Bill Murray, the modern novel, van Gogh, and of course economics and the economy all come into play in a book that can only be described as a monumental project and a lifes work. The Bourgeois Virtues is nothing less than a dazzling reinterpretation of Western intellectual history, a dead-serious reply to the critics of capitalismand a surprising page-turner.

³  - 

LibraryThing Review

  - neurodrew - LibraryThing

This is a long and wordy book. The idea is to counter the assumption, common among academics, that the merchant, businessman and tradesman is without honor and virtue. It is, according to the author ...

The bourgeois virtues: ethics for an age of commerce

  - Not Available - Book Verdict

McCloskey (economics, history, English, & communication, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago;Crossing: A Memoir ) intends her new book as the first in a quartet defending the bourgeois class. She incorporates ...



Deirdre N. McCloskey is distinguished professor of economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among her many books are Crossing: A Memoir and If Youre So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise, both published by the University of Chicago Press.