Read: Morals and Markets - An Evolutionary Account of the Modern World

Dan Friedman’s Morals and Markets is a nice complement to the multidisciplinary collection Moral Markets that I read earlier. Friedman provides an historical account of the interdependence of well functioning markets and moral sentiments and thus an evolutionary perspective that is not limited to economics as he also discusses the respective impact on societal structures and vice versa.

Friedman offers a rather balanced discussion of the benefits and perils of a moral society, when markets need morals and when markets are choked by them. Solely the joint discussion of terrorist and religious groups may seem a bit controversial.

Morals and Markets is not an academic textbook. It tells a coherent story by a sequence of (true) anecdotes that is easily accessible to anyone. In fact, it is quite entertaining while still being instructive.

In the end, Friedman argues convincingly that the major challenge will be to realign morals and markets such that they work together and thus help to improve our society.