It’s now commonplace to hear it said that markets “corrupt our morals.” This sentiment derives from the false premise that the selfish pursuit of our interests, values, possessions, and happiness is low, crude, vulgar, and immoral. The supposed “higher” and “nobler” things lie beyond our selves and beyond this earth. In fact, markets – whether the construed as the exchange of material or intangible values – count on and reward civilized attitudes and behaviors. Markets are humanizing; they embody rationality and objective values; they enshrine justice; they entail reciprocity; they invite us to present the best within us; they teach us lessons; they also ostracize and penalize those who try to practice the main vices (lying, cheating, mooching, and looting).
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