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Book Review: The Virtues of Capitalism

The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets was written to combat the popular notion, especially following recent economic events, that capitalism has failed and/or that it is somehow inherently immoral.

From the book’s Facebook fan page:

Capitalism brings out the best in people. It stabilizes society, fosters creativity, rewards initiative, promotes cooperation, engenders civility, and encourages personal responsibility. People who possess those virtues also make better neighbors and a better society.

In this timely and balanced book, Austin Hill and Scott Rae agree with capitalism’s critics that the economy is essentially a moral issue, but they argue that free markets are the solution to financial disasters rather than the cause. Sure there are legitimate criticisms of the market system — and real limits to what it can and should accomplish — but, in the end, capitalism both depends upon and sustains classic Judeo-Christian virtues better than any of its rival systems. Thoughtful and engaging, The Virtues of Capitalism pushes against the tide of current public opinion and some of the administration’s proposed economic policies with a principled defense of capitalism.

The virtues outlined in the book are:

  • Creativity
  • Initiative
  • Cooperation
  • Civility
  • Responsibility

Additionally, I greatly appreciate how the authors address a common refrain from the Christian community wherein economic issues are said to be periphery and not something most Christians think they should be involved with. The authors rightly point out that the furtherance of moral issues requires money. And how our economics are structured determines how much or little we will be able to do about any particular issue.

The authors also have a helpful Youtube channel with video shorts designed to elucidate some of the points made in the book. I’ll likely post them later.

And finally, here is an interview with one of the authors, Scott Rae (part 1, part 2, part 3).