Acton Institute Powerblog

Defending the bourgeois virtues

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “The middle class in an age of inequality,” I wonder who will defend the bourgeois virtues, if anyone will “speak out in praise of mediocrity, stability, and predictability.”

Deirdre McCloskey has spent a great deal of time exploring and extolling the bourgeois virtues. Over the last decade she’s composed a lengthy trilogy of volumes dedicated to these issues: The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2006); Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2010); and Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (2016).

The most recent issue of Faith & Economics has a symposium focused on Bourgeois Equality. The latest issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality also includes a review of this volume (Bourgois Virtues was also previously reviewed in JMM).

Check out McCloskey’s page on “The Bourgeois Era” for these and other resources related to understanding and defending the bourgeois virtues.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.