Through a series of paper presentations from leading global academic luminaries, the conference sought to deliberate on how capitalism affects morality, the values it elevates and empowers and those it violates or undermines.
Centre for Civil Society and the LeFrak Forum and the Symposium on Science, Reason and Modern Democracy, a privately funded research centre in the political science department at Michigan State University, in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation organised a two day conference on "Are Markets Moral?: In a free enterprise system, do justice and virtue win or lose?". The conference sought to explore the complex relation between moral values and free market economics.
Through a series of paper presentations from leading global academic luminaries, the conference sought to deliberate on how capitalism affects morality, the values it elevates and empowers and those it violates or undermines, and most importantly the values capitalism requires in order to arise and flourish and where they come from. These are complex questions that have been asked repeatedly at different points in time but never been settled due to continuous shifts in thought and of moral/economic circumstances and by the inescapable importance that they have for our lives.
Speakers presenting at the conference included Andrew Bibby, Visiting Professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University; Deirdre McCloskey, Author of Bourgeois Dignity and Professor of Economics, History, English and Communication at the University of Illinois, Chicago; John Tomasi, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Brown University, Pankaj Mishra, Author and Essayist, Richard Epstein, Lawrence A. Tisch Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law, Steven Lukes, Political and Social Theorist and Professor of Politics and Sociology at New York University. Other panelists included Gurcharan Das, renowned author, commentator and former CEO of Procter and Gamble India, and Parth J Shah, Founder President of CCS and a former Professor of Economics at University of Michigan, amongst others.
Papers covered a wide spectrum of ideas, covering Indian, Western, liberal, conservative and libertarian viewpoints. Topics included the role of human innovation and creativity in the Great Enrichment in the west and how market-tested innovation and supply play a role in raising up the world's poor, the pervasiveness of markets in our lives and the implications thereof, theories of social justice, good and bad contracts, Chinese, Indian and Japanese responses to liberalism in the 20th Century and how religious beliefs, affiliations and participation in religious rituals affect basic economic outcomes.
"This very powerful group of academic luminaries discussed and deliberated politics, ethics and economics of markets. Unlike the common perception, markets are based on sound moral principles of honesty, promise-keeping and trust and also promotes the same. The conference brought into focus the acceptance of efficiency of the market in improving quality of life, particularly of the poor, and juxtaposed it with the rejection of the morality of markets.", says Parth J Shah, Founder President of Centre for Civil Society.
The conference was held in New Delhi on 4 and 5 January 2014.
About Centre for Civil Society (CCS)
Centre for Civil Society (CCS) is a public policy think tank advancing personal, social, economic and political freedoms. CCS aims to usher in an intellectual revolution that encourages people to look beyond the obvious, think beyond good intentions and act beyond activism.
The 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Rankings based on a study conducted by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania ranks CCS 51st amongst Worldwide (US and non-US) think tanks, the only Indian think tank to feature in the top 100 on the list. CCS also ranks 15th among the top 45 Think Tanks in China, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania annually ranks think tanks around the world through an intensive process of nominations, and expert and peer institution feedback on the output, impact and influence of global think tanks. Centre for Civil Society (CCS) for a fourth year in a row continues to feature among the top think tanks in the world according to this comprehensive study of 6,603 think tanks from every region. To know more about Centre for Civil Society, please visit: www.ccs.in
CCS believes in the individuality and dignity of all persons and their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. CCS is driven by the dream of a free society, where political, social, and economic freedom reign.
CCS' activities include research, advocacy and outreach in the areas of Law, Liberty & Livelihood; Communities, Markets & the Environment; Good Governance and Education for All. Through evidence-based research, stakeholder engagement and outreach to current and future leaders, CCS advocates for effective public policy reforms.
CCS initiatives in the above areas include publishing their views and research findings in the form of citizen handbooks, viewpoints, policy reviews, legislative analyses and summaries of lectures given at seminars by expert faculty; creating discussion platforms and hosting conferences to facilitate peer interaction amongst researchers and key stakeholders in the policy space.