One of the greatest and most joyful challenges of adult life is to develop skills that make the people around us better off with us than without us. Integrity is a key part of that challenge. We are social animals, aiming not simply to trade but to make a place for ourselves in a community. You don’t want to have to pretend that you feel proud of fooling your customers into believing you could be trusted.
The ethical question is: how do people have to live in order to make the world a better place with them than without them?
The economic question is: what kind of society makes people willing and able to use their talents in a way that is good for them and for the people around them?
The entrepreneurial question is: what does it take to show up in the marketplace with something that can take your community to a different level?
In this book, the authors discuss the connections between the ethical, economic, and entrepreneurial dimensions of a life well-lived.
Ethics, Economy, and Entrepreneurship
Part 1: Key Concept
Part 2: Progress
Adam Smith on Progress
Transaction Cost and Progress
Commerce and Progress
Production Possibilities Frontier
What Seems Like Progress
Part 3: Understanding Trade
Conditions for Trade
Division of Labor
A Market: Supply and Demand
A Market Responds: Price and Quantity
Price Signals and Spontaneous Order
Economic Science: Putting Theory to the Test
Progress and Wealth Creation
Part 4: Trust, Agency, and Bystanders
Cost to Bystanders
Competitors are not Bystanders
The Logic of the Commons
Benefits for Bystanders
International Trade and Trade Protection
What Should Not be for Sale
Part 5: Management of a Commercial Society
Fractional Reserve Banking
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Measuring the Price Level
Part 6: Personal and Business Finance
Saving, Borrowing, and Investing
Part 7: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
It Takes More than Ideas
What Innovation Looks Like
Entry, Exit, and the Role of Profit
Entrepreneurs as Resource Integrators
Entrepreneurship as a Process
Markets Don’t Exist
Competitive Advantage - The Dynamics of Remaining Viable
The Big Errors
The Entrepreneur and Self-Assessment
Cathleen Johnson teaches the Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law program at the University of Arizona, USA.
Robert Lusch was Professor of Marketing at the University of Arizona, USA.
David Schmidtz is Kendrick Professor of Philosophy in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Eller Chair of Service-Dominant Logic in the Eller College of Management, both at the University of Arizona, USA.
The authors do an outstanding job of capturing the essential, complementary roles of commerce and ethics in short, concise chapters that are easily digestible for readers of almost any age and educational background. They adroitly link seemingly diverse concepts into a simple narrative of societal sustainability through human interdependence and cooperation. Commercial Society is a thoughtful, delightfully easy, and critically important read.
This thought-provoking text encourages exploration and engagement in life’s conversation regarding the connection of ethical behavior to commercial economic progress, as well as the importance of entrepreneurship in creating ways to make others better off. It is succinct and will engage students creatively and deeply in dialogue, study, and research.
Learning economics is hard because it is part social science, part business discipline, part moral philosophy. You need to learn how the world works, how to flourish in business and life, and how choices benefit or harm others. Commercial Society is the first text that consistently stresses all three of these points in a clear and simple way. Highly recommended!
A well-conceived and well-executed guide for young adults embarking on lives in our commercial society. The book provides a beautifully clear description of trade and its centrality to human life, the institutions supporting trade, and the ethics woven into its fabric. On the practical side it discusses personal and business finance and ends with a challenge to the reader to start his or her own business.