Morality, Markets, and Social Justice


This colloquium brought business professionals and civic leaders together to examine the foundational principles of classical liberalism, with a particular focus on the relationship between moral conduct and a market economy, including the concept of social justice.


From Liberty Fund

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

by By Adam Smith
Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie

The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first and in his own mind most important work, outlines his view of proper conduct and the institutions and sentiments that make men virtuous. Here he develops his doctrine of the impartial spectator, whose hypothetical disinterested judgment we must use to distinguish right from…

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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (vol. 1)

by By Adam Smith
Edited by R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner
William B. Todd, Textual Editor

First published in 1776, the year in which the American Revolution officially began, Smith’s Wealth of Nations sparked a revolution of its own. In it Smith analyzes the major elements of political economy, from market pricing and the division of labor to monetary, tax, trade, and other government policies that…

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Additional Readings

Acton, H. B. The Morals of Markets and Related Essays. Edited by David Gordon and Jeremy Shearmur. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1993.

Alchian, Armen A. and Harold Demsetz. "The Property Rights Paradigm." Journal of Economic History 33, no. 1 (March 1973): 16-27.

Burke, Thomas Patrick. The Concept of Justice: Is Social Justice Just? London: Continuum, 2011.

Hayek, F. A. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 1: Rules and Order [Phoenix series]. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1973.

Hayek, F. A. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice [Phoenix series]. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976.

Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature [reprinted from the original edition in three volumes]. Edited by L. A. Selby-Bigge, M. A. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896.

Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government. Edited by Peter Laslett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

McCloskey, Deirdre. "Bourgeois Virtue." The American Scholar 63, no. 2 (Spring 1994): 177-191.

Mises, Ludwig von. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Volume 1. Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007.

Tomasi, John. Free Market Fairness. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.