What would it mean for the economy to truly promote human flourishing? My research project on "The Political Economy of Common Goods" contributes to a philosophically rigorous account of the humane economy. In particular, I ask how the Aristotelian idea of the common good (of communities that flourish or fail in their own right) can or should be a standard for describing and assessing market economies. Is the common good a competitor or a cooperator with the ideal of the free market? Using resources from political theory, economics, and law, I contend that the the common good helps us to understand not only liberal politics, but also key economic institutions such as markets and corporations -- how they are, and how they ought to be.
Students will research how markets are structured and politically justified in various non-liberal traditions. Each semester's project will probably focus on writing up one tradition of mutual interest, such as: late medieval Franciscan thought, the early modern Italian civil economy, or contemporary republican defenses of markets. Student researchers will delve into both primary documents as well as scholarly commentary, and combine bibliography, annotations, and summaries in an overall report.
Any Foreign Language reading would be helpful but is not necessary, especially Latin, German, Italian, or French.
'- Substantively: how to address questions like: what alternatives to free markets have been tried since early modern times? What kinds of ideas or institutions are given up in order to sustain free markets?
- Tactically: how to read and summarize the claims of an scholarly argument and situate it in a larger intellectual conversation
- Strategically: how to concisely express a tradition of discourse, expressing both its central shared claims and the central disputes that drive it forward