This paper is explores the relationship between ethics and liberal market orders both as a form of justifying those orders and as a way of being within such orders. The argument shows that there are a number of tensions and ambiguities between ethics and liberal market orders perhaps best captured as differences between visible and invisible hands. Two prominent attempts to adjudicate these tensions—that of Buchanan and McCloskey—are examined and a matrix for thinking about the relation between ethics and liberal market orders is developed. My own approach to resolving the tension in light of that matrix is outlined, which paradoxically suggests that on the one hand, liberalism is justified for having a certain suspicion of ethics while on the other hand is the political and social theory most encouraging of it.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 10, 2009
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