If the current financial upheaval teaches us anything, it should be how much market capitalism depends upon most people developing and adhering to some rather uncontroversial moral virtues.
Watson then writes, “I wish he would say more about what those virtues should be or from where they should originate.”
It will be interesting to see if the response to the current crisis will go that far, penetrating the very character of the persons and the economic community, or if it will settle for merely dealing with external constraints in the form of increased market regulation. One will result in lasting reform; the other will only inspire circumvention.
This blog has written previously about the virtues in question, and their sources:
here: Rabbi Jonathan Saks suggests those virtues originate in the following places:
2) Marriage and Family [but Christians can understand this also more broadly as Body of Christ]
4) the concept of Property
5) tradition/Law [Christians can also understand this more broadly as Church and Scripture]
and here: Ken Myers, from Mars Hill Audio agrees with Saks, pointing to family and community as sources for virtues like "trust, goodwill, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, and forgiveness."
Watson makes an important observation:
There is a feedback loop between our character and the systems we create. Yes, our values shape the market; we would do well to remember that the market returns the favor.”
Free market capitalism is a modernist phenomenon, and we ignore its metaphysical foundations at our peril. The challenge in the coming days will be to see if we can create a capitalist system founded not on individualism, autonomy and novelty, but on persons, relationships and respect for the traditions and practices that sustain us in our relationships with God, each other, and the earth.