Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (3):301-326 (2008)

Authors
Neera K. Badhwar
University of Oklahoma
Abstract
Critics of commercial societies complain that the free-market system of property rights and freedom of contract tends to commodify relationships, thus eroding the bonds of personal and civic friendship. I argue that this thesis rests on a misunderstanding of both markets and friendship. As voluntary, reciprocal relationships, market relationships and friendship share important properties. Like all relations and activities that exercise important human capacities and play an important role in a meaningful life, market relations and activities are essentially structured and supported by ethical norms and, in turn, support these norms. The so-called norms of the market, such as instrumentality and fungibility, come in varying degrees and characterize not only market, but also nonmarket, relationships, including friendship. Furthermore, although market relationships are primarily instrumental, the individuals involved are not. The virtues of markets have their counterparts in friendship, as do their vices. For these and other reasons, market societies are not only not inimical to friendship, they create a more secure matrix for civic and personal friendship, as well as for other important values such as art, science, or philosophy, than any other developed form of society. Key Words: commercial societies • friendship • moral norms • virtues • vices.
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X08092105
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References found in this work BETA

Atomism.Charles Taylor - 1979 - In Alkis Kontos (ed.), Powers, Possessions and Freedom: Essays in Honour of C.B. Macpherson. University of Toronto Press.
Aristotle on the Forms of Friendship.John M. Cooper - 1977 - Review of Metaphysics 30 (4):619 - 648.
.Morris Silver - 2016 - 98 (1):184-202.

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Citations of this work BETA

Adam Smith’s Bourgeois Virtues in Competition.Thomas Wells & Johan Graafland - 2012 - Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (2):319-350.

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