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Trust, Morality, and Markets

Rethinking Economy and Society via the Russian Case

Yuri Veselov, Mikhail Sinyutin and Elena Kapustkina

The spread of contemporary globalized capitalism wrought by the new patterns of industrialization, marketization, and consumerization shapes Russia’s recent historical path and developmental possibilities. This book discusses Russia’s transformation into a market economy and the role of trust in the creation of new institutions and ways of life. It focuses on the relations between society and economy in a period of turbulent social change and the extraordinary transformation of social practices.
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Chapter 1. Economy and Morality

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Chapter 1. Economy and Morality

In the “Economy and Society” tradition founded by such intellectual giants like Weber and Durkheim at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries and continued later by such figures as Parsons and Polanyi, a lot of attention has been paid to themes such as economic and social differentiation, economy and religion, economy and politics, etc. Nevertheless, the ideas of morality and ethics, virtues and justice in economics were rarely in the centre of economic sociological discussion despite the role and significance of such themes in social sciences. To say nothing about the famous Weberian “Protestant ethics…” (Weber 1930) there was no other book on morality and economy in the economic sociological literature. The situation could partly be explained by the reaction of economists to social changes and their attitudes to social processes in general. In the neoclassical tradition, political (hence social) economy was transformed into a socially-neutral “economics”. Economists who considered economics as a positive science or pretended it was a positive science refused to include moral issues of economic activity as internal to their science and instead shifted such themes to philosophy or sociology regardless if they were ready to accept them or not (and usually they were not). In the twentieth century economists considered themselves more and more as social engineers or managers whose responsibility did not exceed the technical level; they preferred to deal with measures but not goals of economic activity and as such, gave...

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