Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 523–529 | Cite as

Collier’s Communitarian Capitalism

  • David ShermanEmail author

At the start of the last century, Max Weber speculated in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that “victorious capitalism” would expel ethical meaning as it had expelled religious asceticism, ending in “specialists without spirit [and] sensualists without heart” (1958, pp. 181–182). Paul Collier (2018), a developmental economist who seeks to transcend his own academic “silo of specialism” (p. 18), tacitly takes this as his point of departure in The Future of Capitalism. But whereas Weber saw this outcome as endogenous to victorious capitalism, about which he refused to make value judgments, Collier sees it both as exogenous to capitalism and as the cause of its current shortcomings, and value judgments drive his reclamation project.

Of course, the capitalist system that Collier faces is more complex than it was in Weber’s time, but there are historical parallels. With the fall of the Eastern bloc and Soviet Union a new period of capitalist triumphalism arose (whose...


Capitalism Communitarianism Moral sentiments Evolutionary moral psychology 



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  4. Weber M (1958) The Protestant ethic and the Spirit of capitalism. Trans. T. Parsons. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MontanaMissoulaUSA

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