PHIL279 - MARKETS,MORALITY&CAPITAL: Markets, Morality & the Future of Capitalism
Markets play a central role in the life of a capitalist democracy. But is this a good thing? Should we let markets decide who is rich and who is poor? Who makes decisions and who follows them? Whose ideas get heard and whose ideas do not? The goal of this class will be to examine the market from the perspective of vaious social values to see whether we should want a market system and, if so, what kind of market system we should want. Among the issues we will examine are the following. Does the market contribute to the common good? If so, how? Does the market conflict with the idea that all human beings are of equal value? What is the relation between the market and freedom? Does the market liberate us or oppress us? Can we reconcile the market with our democratic ideals? What role should corporations play in a healthy democracy? What role should markets play in an increasingly globalized world? We will read several important philosophers, economists and political theorists writing on these issues, including Adam Smith, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Friedrich Hayek, Karl Marx, Robert Nozick, Ronald Dworkin, Jurgen Habermas, Peter Singer, and others.