Social Contracts, Human Flourishing, and the Economy

Our current economic debates underscore the case for an approach to political economy that rejects social contract theory and embraces a robust conception of human flourishing.
Public employee unions aren’t the only seekers of government largesse.
An uncertain legal landscape puts future prosperity at risk.
It is at our own peril that we ignore the nexus between moral convictions, the institutions in which they are realized, and our economic culture.
The government’s ability to print money at will is a nearly unquestioned feature of today’s economic order, but recent crises have highlighted its hazards.
In charting our future monetary policies, we should remember the trade-offs of competing alternatives.
Expansive and expensive welfare programs have brought European social democracies to the verge of catastrophe. Now the dynamics of democracy may be an impediment to economic reform.
The bailout of Greece is a stunning about-face that calls into question Europe’s commitment to a stable currency.
Is it time to consider internationalizing or privatizing our money supply?
If we are to restore confidence in free markets, we need a robust explanation of their moral value.
Economists and other social scientists should take into account the integral flourishing of human beings and not just material utility. After doing so, defense of free trade becomes more—not less—important.
Free trade is not only good economic policy, it is a human right that should not be restricted lightly.
In the wake of the financial crisis, we need an economics with greater humility about its predictive power and an increased understanding of the complicated human beings who, when the discipline is rightly understood, lie at its center.
At a moment of increased government involvement in the economy, the solution we need might be a more independent central bank.
Homeownership has long been part of the American Dream, but current government plans to keep more people in their homes reflect the influence of failed economic policies from the past and may encourage more risky decision making in the future.
If governments do not take moral hazard seriously, their response to the present recession may sow the seeds of a future economic crisis.
While this weekend's conference threatens to repeat the failures of Bretton Woods, the work of economist Wilhelm Röpke may recommend a more successful approach.