Commerce & Community

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.


Review of Inglis, History Man

Review of Fred Inglis, History Man: The Life of R. G. Collingwood

Published in Books and Culture, Dec/Jan 2012

In An Autobiography, published in 1939 on the eve of World War II, English philosopher R. G. Collingwood (1889-1943) reflected on the historical legacy of World War I. “[A] war of unprece-dented ferocity,” wrote Collingwood, “closed in a peace-settlement of unprecedented folly, in which statesmanship, even purely selfish statesmanship, was overwhelmed by the meanest and most idiotic passions.” The war, Collingwood conceded, “was an unprecedented triumph for natural science,” a triumph that also “paved the way to other triumphs: improvements in transport, in sanitation, in surgery, medicine, and psychiatry, in commerce and industry, and, above all, in preparations for the next war.” The Treaty of Versailles had nevertheless failed, on Collingwood’s account, to restore the human side of affairs to any semblance of good order. The “power to control Nature” had overrun man’s “power to control human situations,” and the treaty gave way to a reign of natural sc

ience with the power to convert Europe “into a wilderness of Yahoos.”           ….read more


History, On Proper Principles

History, On Proper Principles: Essays in Honor of Forrest McDonald

by Steven M. Klugewicz and Lenore T. Ealy
Publication Date: April 1, 2010

Few historians have been as prolific—or as controversial—as Forrest McDonald, who has spent his long career shattering myths and standing athwart the increasingly ideological approach of his fellow historians. Perhaps most notably, he overturned Charles Beard’s theories about the economic origins of the Constitution, which had dominated the historical profession for decades.

History, on Proper Principles is the first book to pay tribute to McDonald’s towering legacy. Here, a distinguished group of scholars honors McDonald with essays on the wide variety of topics the historian has addressed over the past half century—from the Constitution to economics, from Hamilton and Jefferson to Franklin Roosevelt, from the antebellum South to interwar America. Contributors include such noted intellectuals as Bruce Frohnen, Burton W. Folsom Jr., Richard K. Matthews, F. Thornton Miller, and C. Bradley Thompson.

The book also includes an unpublished piece by McDonald himself, which he delivered as his final public lecture. Finally, the insightful introduction by editors Stephen Klugewicz and Lenore Ealy provides the only intellectual biography of McDonald ever penned, covering his approach to writing history, his legacy, and even his apparent contradictions in thought.

History, on Proper Principles is not only a long-overdue tribute to a hugely influential figure in the field of history, but also a fascinating and important historical contribution in its own right.

Liberty and Learning

Liberty and Learning: Milton Friedman’s Voucher Idea at Fifty

By Robert C. Enlow & Lenore T. Ealy

Publication Date: August 10, 2006
Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman had the ground-breaking idea to improve public education with school vouchers. By separating government financing of education from government administration of schools, Friedman argued, parents at all income levels would have the freedom to choose the schools their children attend. Liberty & Learning is a collection of essays from the nation’s top education experts evaluating the progress of Friedman’s innovative idea and reflecting on its merits in the 21st century. The book also contains a special prologue and epilogue by Milton Friedman himself. The contributors to this volume take a variety of approaches to Friedman’s voucher idea. All of them assess the merit of Friedman’s plan through an energetic, contemporary perspective, though some authors take a theoretical position, while others employ a very pragmatic approach.