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The Moral Economy


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About the Author

Samuel Bowles directs the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute and is the author of Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution; A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution (with Herbert Gintis);andThe New Economics of Inequality and Redistribution.


"In his tightly argued and illuminating book, Bowles makes the case that appeals made to our self-interest can undercut instinctive moral impulses; and that when these impulses are weakened crucial institutions work sub-optimally, if not at all."-Robert Armstrong, Financial Times
"Bowles makes an appealing case that virtue has a place in the world of economics . . . adds to a tide of research (such as the work of economist Elinor Ostrom and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson) showing that selfishness is not the only human virtue in the real world."-Bob Holmes, New Scientist
"A welcome alternative. . . Bowles persuasively argues that when economists take as given (and thus plan for) a world of utility-maximising agents, they actually help create such a world."
-Rebecca L. Spang, Times Literary Supplement

Won an Honorable Mention for the 2017 Robert Lane Award given by the Organized Political Sections of the APSA
"The Moral Economy plows new ground in exploring how the actions we take are motivated by their meaning. Samuel Bowles is proposing a paradigm shift in how we think about our lives and about economics."-George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics
"The Moral Economy convincingly shows that economic incentives and legal constraints alone will not produce a flourishing society because good - morally motivated - people are indispensable. A thought-provoking work!"-Ernst Fehr, Professor of Economics at the University of Zurich
"The Moral Economy is a brilliant book. Rarely have such big ideas been communicated in such a compact package. This book should change the way political leaders, policy makers, and social scientists of all stripes do their work and understand the work that they do."-Barry Schwartz, author of Practical Wisdom and Why We Work
"In this wonderful book, Sam Bowles explores-with intellectual breadth and analytical acuity-the importance of altruism and a sense of fairness in creating and sustaining decent societies. His prose is lucid, arguments compelling, and conclusions important. This is social science at its very best."-Joshua Cohen, Apple University
"Sam Bowles is a visionary thinker who has done more than anyone else I know to unite the social sciences. In this superb book his combination of wisdom and rigor shines through, offering important lessons for anyone who hopes to motivate, govern, or even inspire actual humans."-Joshua Greene, author of Moral Tribes and director of the Moral Cognition Lab, Harvard University

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