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The Demoralizing Trap of Keynesianism

Daniel J. Smith, Sean P. Alvarez


Classical economists, since the days of Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, held that one of the primary arguments for capitalism, in addition to its superior economic efficiency and its grounding in robust political economy, was its civilizing role. They recognized that commerce channels self-interest into voluntary, mutually beneficial pursuits. The cooperative pursuit of profit thus encourages the development of tolerance, honesty, and manners even among diverse people. Keynesianism, however, can undermine the civilizing role of commerce by promoting widespread government control and direction of the economy. Because big government undermines the market and fosters cronyism, commercial virtues are dampened, and they are often replaced with dishonesty, distrust, and intolerance.

Daniel J. Smith and Sean P. Alvarez, "The Demoralizing Trap of Keynesianism," Journal of Markets & Morality 20, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 55-68

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