Globalization: The Rise of the Middle Classes from Athens to Beijing
Although its detractors deny it, Globalization, like free markets more generally,
entails virtues, at a minimum in the Aristotelian sense of functional effectiveness:
fair exchanges, self-discipline, respect for consequences of individual choices,
keeping promises, a necessity for law and order, protection of private property, the
value of individual autonomy, and the reward for risk-taking, according to a
cost/benefit analysis, defined as applied reason, defined as informed choices.
Notice what is absent from this catalogue of prudence: moral virtue, justice,
equality, self-sacrifice, devotion to divine or any other transcendental values. Now
my materialistically tilted understanding of Globalization can be unmasked: it
ignores the ‘higher’ virtues. Or, rather, it leaves them to be assessed and applied
by the non-economic sectors of the social and political arenas.