Cover image for The moral economy
The moral economy
Powelson, John P., 1920-2009.
Publication Information:
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xii, 282 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HB72 .P65 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When all the momentous current changes in technology and social structure have run their course, we will have created a new world society. Will this society--the total complex of who we are and how we behave--resolve our major economic and social problems? This is the question that John P. Powelson addresses in his provocative new book,The Moral Economy. In his discussion of worldwide problems--including poverty, the environment, population growth, ethnic bias, welfare, social security, and health care--Powelson proposes that solutions to social problems are best sought in a greater balance of power among social groups. He explains how to design institutional structures, like government, education, and religion, that will permit conflict to be resolved peacefully and fairly. He also shows how a moral economy--a balance between interventionism and libertarianism--and economic prosperity are mutually reinforcing. The Moral Economyproposes 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. "[A] coherent and stunning scenario for the future of humankind. . . . a message for all epochs." --J. D. Von Pischke John P. Powelson is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Colorado.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this sequel to his Centuries of Economic Endeavor: Parallel Paths in Japan and Europe and Their Contrast with the Third World (1994), Powelson (Univ. of Colorado) makes a strong set of predictions about the future of global capitalism. These predictions are based on a wide reading of history. In the first book, Powelson looked for the institutional factors that led to the remarkable economic growth of Japan and the West. In this book, he tries to predict the similarly remarkable things that will happen in the future as the world economy continues to grow and generate more wealth. Powelson's viewpoint is not the one that most readers would first suspect; he sees a modified form of classical liberalism spreading as technological change powers economic growth. His vision of a decentralized, more moral society arises more from a deep and fundamental hope in the human spirit than it does from any technological or economic necessity. If his vision sounds unusually optimistic in a time of political apathy, it at least has the advantage of being based in a strong understanding of economic history. Recommended for public and academic library collections, lower-division undergraduate through faculty. B. W. Bateman Grinnell College

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