The Moral Economy

John P. Powelson
A new society is being born out of technological and social change. How will it work? Will it solve our problems?


When all the momentous current changes in technology and social structure have run their course, we will have created a new world society. Will this society—the total complex of who we are and how we behave—resolve our major economic and social problems? This is the question that John P. Powelson addresses in his provocative new book, The Moral Economy.

In his discussion of worldwide problems—including poverty, the environment, population growth, ethnic bias, welfare, social security, and health care—Powelson proposes that solutions to social problems are best sought in a greater balance of power among social groups. He explains how to design institutional structures, like government, education, and religion, that will permit conflict to be resolved peacefully and fairly. He also shows how a moral economy—a balance between interventionism and libertarianism—and economic prosperity are mutually reinforcing.

The Moral Economy proposes a desirable world that is historically possible, if certain trends of the past millennium are continued into the next, and if world power becomes more diffuse. As we enter the twenty-first century, it looks to the horizon to suggest what a distant future might bring.

John P. Powelson is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Colorado.

Praise / Awards

  • "Linkage between economic and moral values has always been evident in Dr. Powelson's historical and analytical work. In The Moral Economy he carries these concepts aggressively into the future as the means for achieving a better world."
    —Charles A. Boonstra
  • "Stimulating and provocative."
    —Charles P. Kindleberger
  • "[A] coherent and stunning scenario for the future of humankind. . . . a message for all epochs."
    —J. D. Von Pischke
  • "The Moral Economy" offers an interesting prescription for the betterment of humanity in the future and certainly deserves a place—and discussion—in the marketplace of ideas."
    —Richard A. Easterlin, University of Southern California
  • "Profoundly thoughtful, vastly knowledgeable, The Moral Economy is a lucid and persuasive diagnosis of what makes a society work, or helps a society work, or keeps it from working, for the benefit of the people."
    —Thomas C. Schelling, University of Maryland, College Park
  • ". . . a stimulating and provocative book."
    Quaker Life

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 296pp.
  • 2 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08672-6

Add to Cart
  • $30.95 U.S.