Books on Moral
Moral Economy is the central
characteristic of economic activity in a tribal society. Rather than economic exchanges
being motivated by self-interest, greed or profit, exchanges are driven by moral
obligations created by kinship relations, gift giving, and rituals.
In a moral economy, a hunter or
food gatherer may by obliged to give much of the food to a network of relations, thus
accounting for the distribution of food within the community.
It was the final collapse of
moral economy, economic exchange as moral obligation that Karl Marx bemoaned when he
described the cash nexus that has become the central medium and motivator of
exchange in a capitalist society.
The moral economy embodies norms
regarding the responsibilities and rights of individuals and institutions with respect to
others and regarding the nature and qualities of goods, services and environment. The
story of capitalism and modernity is often told as one of the replacement of moral economy
by a political economy, in which the fate of actors comes to depend on the outcomes of
anonymous contending market forces, the positioning of people as consumers turns moral
judgements concerning the social good into matters of private preference, and their
fortunes become heavily dependent on luck, as even market advocates such as Hayek,
The Moral Economy of the Mexican
Miner - Adrian Bantjes, University of Wyoming.
Paper seeks to explain the isolated, conservative political role played by mineworkers
during the radical presidency of Lazaro Cardenas (1934 1940), using the Sonoran miners as
a case study. The moral economy of the Mexican miner was not accepted by the State, which
imposed cooperativism, mass unionism, and de-skilling on this "labor
aristocratic" sector of the workforce. The relative freedom and independence of the
Mexican miner would soon be a thing of the past.
The Moral Economy of the Peasant
- Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia - James C. Scott - yalepress.yale.edu -
Scott draws from the history of agrarian society in lower Burma and Vietnam to show how
the transformations of the colonial era systematically violated the peasants
moral economy and created a situation of potential rebellion and revolution.
The Moral Economy - John P. Powelson is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of
Colorado - press.umich.edu. The Moral Economy proposes a desirable world that is
historically possible, if certain trends of the past millennium are continued into the
next, and if world power becomes more diffuse. As we enter the twenty-first century, it
looks to the horizon to suggest what a distant future might bring. Shows how a moral
economy, a balance between interventionism and libertarianism, and economic prosperity are
Abstract of The Moral
Adam Smith's classic liberal economy works well only when economic and political power is
well distributed. The distribution of power in the twenty-first century depends on which
of three paths we take: interventionism, libertarianism, or the middle path proposed in
This path is called "the moral economy." It seeks balance of power among social
groupings, in which socially desirable behavior is imposed sidewise-by group acting upon
group-rather than downward, through government regulation. Environmental and other social
goals are sought by nongovernment agencies as much removed from politics as possible,
while social assistance is administered by private agencies financed in part by cash or
voucher grants supplied by government, or by a negative income tax.
The final chapter describes the moral economy, using the solutions to the problems cited
in Part One and the institutions proposed in Part Two. It also outlines the path by which
the moral economy might be approached.