In Commerce & Community: Ecologies of Social Cooperation (Routledge 2014), Robert Garnett, Paul Lewis and I set out to encourage interaction and cross-fertilization among several contemporary lines of research that have begun to reject the division of economic life into separate spheres of commerce and community (impersonal, amoral Gesellschaft vs. face-to-face, ethically imbued Gemeinschaft) and to recast the economic domain as a heterogeneous provisioning space through which individuals secure, in Smithian terms, “the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes.” By rethinking basic categories such as rationality, identity, reciprocity, cooperation, beneficence, justice, commerce, community, and economy, a new generation of scholars are painting the ecology of voluntary cooperation in richer colors and subtler dimensions than would be possible based on Samuelsonian/Stiglerian (Max-U, markets-only) conceptions of economy or capitalism. Unfortunately, the ecology of cooperation among these theorists themselves remains quite limited; their integrative approaches exist mostly as islands within segregated academic tribes. One finds few venues in which, for example, feminist, Austrian, and evolutionary economists jointly interrogate the commercial/communal dualism (impersonal, amoral Gesellschaftvs. face-to-face, ethically imbued Gemeinschaft).
We were gratified to elicit contributions from two dozen contributors and grateful to Routledge for publishing the volume.