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Abstract

The relationship between politics, economy and ethics has occupied thinkers since Plato. The best example of preoccupation with the moral dimensions of political economies in recent memory is the Cold War. More than a struggle for imperial hegemony between the two super-powers, it was a conflict over which political economy fathered a more moral society. The United States and the Soviet Union clashed over which system benefitted larger segments of their respective society. Every facet of life, from space exploration to sporting events, was used as evidence that one or the other society was inferior. Most importantly, both claimed that their political order gave rise to superior morality. They competed for the hearts and minds of people throughout the globe, and believed that ethical considerations gave them the right and even duty to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. When President Bush recently declared that the United States had won the Cold War he was not merely pointing out that capitalism proved economically sounder. For Bush, and for most westerners, the triumph of capitalism vindicated its claim to generating greater political freedom and individual virtue. In 1986, in a Harper’s magazine forum on capitalism and morality, conservative columnist Michael Novak claimed that capitalism enhanced the human virtues of personal autonomy, self reliance and the family.1 Novak’s words reflect the way in which most Americans think of their political economy and political culture.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Founding Father Commercial Policy American Republicanism American Foreign Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Doron S. Ben-Atar 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doron S. Ben-Atar
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityUSA

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