Capitalism is property, the market, the individual, rationality, expansion. Conservatism is the shared, the continuing, the accepted, social structure, political embeddedness. Capitalism is an unsentimental system which looks forward and strives efficiently for gain. Conservatism is a rooted ideology which cherishes its historic costs and writes off no bygones. Capitalism faces the future with a maximiser's stake in an increasing supply. Conservatism, valuing the past, is reassured by the tried-and-tested that has served well the common interest. The two perspectives are not the same. Yet they are often found in combination. Conservative Capitalism explores the nature of the mixed ethos which makes the embodied past a recognisable part of the ever-acquisitive future in history's most dynamic and productive economic system. The book concludes that inherited conventions and the ties of network may indeed be useful inputs in the production-function that churns out the wealth of nations. It also maintains that traditions and communities can be good things in their own right, ends and not means which a rich nation has the unique economic opportunity to protect and preserve.
This authoritative and comprehensive study of the essential relationship between markets and morals examines the work of thinkers including Smith, Burke, Marx, Durkheim, Shackle, Hayek, Polanyi and Fukuyama to put free enterprise in its social context. It illuminates the central questions of our age and will prove stimulating to economists, political theorists, sociologists and all readers interested in the history of ideas.