The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Mar 15, 2010 - Philosophy - 634 pages
14 Reviews
For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Mencken’s “booboisie” and David Brooks’s “bobos”—all have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskey’s The Bourgeois Virtues, a magnum opus that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us.

McCloskey’s sweeping, charming, and even humorous survey of ethical thought and economic realities—from Plato to Barbara Ehrenreich—overturns every assumption we have about being bourgeois. Can you be virtuous and bourgeois? Do markets improve ethics? Has capitalism made us better as well as richer? Yes, yes, and yes, argues McCloskey, who takes on centuries of capitalism’s critics with her erudition and sheer scope of knowledge. Applying a new tradition of “virtue ethics” to our lives in modern economies, she affirms American capitalism without ignoring its faults and celebrates the bourgeois lives we actually live, without supposing that they must be lives without ethical foundations.

High Noon, Kant, Bill Murray, the modern novel, van Gogh, and of course economics and the economy all come into play in a book that can only be described as a monumental project and a life’s work. The Bourgeois Virtues is nothing less than a dazzling reinterpretation of Western intellectual history, a dead-serious reply to the critics of capitalism—and a surprising page-turner.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
1
3 stars
4
2 stars
4
1 star
0

Review: The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce

User Review  - Dan Walker - Goodreads

This is an easy book to read that is difficult to finish. The author is extremely erudite and writes in a conversational style. But as is typical of a conversation, the thread of the narrative weaves ... Read full review

Review: The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce

User Review  - Will - Goodreads

Exciting premise, but the execution involves rambling for about twice as long as necessary. Read full review

Contents

A Brief for the Bourgeois Virtues
1
Appeal
55
Love
89
Faith and Hope
149
Prudence and Justice
251
Part V Systematizing the SevenVirtues
301
Part III The Bourgeois Uses of the Virtues
405
The unfinished case for the bourgeois virtues
509
Notes
515
Works Cited
557
Index
589
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 9 - If we were to prophesy that in the year 1930 a population of fifty millions, better fed, clad and lodged than the English of our time, will cover these islands, that Sussex and Huntingdonshire will be wealthier than the wealthiest parts of the...

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2010)

Deirdre N. McCloskey is distinguished professor of economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among her many books are Crossing: A Memoir and If You’re So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Bibliographic information