Reading Groups

About the Program

The Political Economy Project (PEP) grew out of the practice of faculty members such as Professors Meir Kohn and Douglas Irwin hosting informal reading groups to discuss important books together.

Texts or topics that could not easily be fit into the framework of formal coursework could instead be made the occasion for a kind of continuing education, in an intimate small-group setting that allows for more careful exploration and closer interaction than is sometimes possible in the classroom.

STUDENT-AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Starting in the Spring of 2020, the PEP began facilitating author interviews by any interested students in the Book Group program. The first student-author interview grew out of Prof. Henry Clark's Spring discussion of Alan Kahan's Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism (Routledge, 2010). 

Nishi Jain ('21), one of the participants in the group, conducted the interview with Professor Kahan in late Spring. Lightly edited for length and clarity, the interview follows:

What was your inspiration to write Mind vs. Money?

I got the first idea from hearing friends and colleagues talk about history. Not just American history, but other kinds of history as well. The word "bourgeois" or "bourgeoisie" often came up in their talk. There was always a pejorative connotation to when somebody talks about the bourgeois or the middle class or what have you. And I realized this was just symptomatic of the profession. And it wasn't just historians, by any means. It wasn't just my colleagues, even the ones who did not regard themselves as at all on the Left. Nevertheless, they spoke about the bourgeoisie as these, you know, inferior beings who lived over there and were concerned with things that were beneath the rest of us. Given that, I started reading and the more I learned, the less I became satisfied with existing accounts. And so then I tried to perform an overarching class-based kind of analysis, answering questions such as, "how does this fit into a democratic society in which people naturally have to make money because they don't have the guarantees of hereditary status?" And the intrigue and confusion behind that perspective was the origin of Mind vs. Money.

Can you describe the class struggle between capitalists and intellectuals? 

This class struggle between intellectuals and bourgeoisie begins somewhere close to the late 18th century, where both groups allied against the traditional aristocracy, but then fell out shortly thereafter. Since then, they have been fighting for power (very similar to the Marxist argument), using whatever tools they have available; in the one case, money, and in the other case, the moral and intellectual force. And that would be fine if they would both acknowledge that they're interested in the same thing, but the intellectuals typically are the ones who refuse to acknowledge that they actually have the same goal because the inherent nature of the goal goes against the moral and intellectual force that they align themselves with. 

Another word for this is competition. This can be fruitful, but it can also be catastrophic. And too often, it's been catastrophic rather than fruitful. 

Is this kind of class-based analysis common? 

Well, you talk about class analysis and it comes in lots of flavors. If you start out in 19th-century history as I do, everybody in the 19th century is constantly talking about class, specifically the big three: aristocracy, middle class, and poor. I consider class more a variation on this in that there are sometimes hundreds of different classes. Given this kind of outlook, you open yourself up to many different possible analyses. Strictly looking at political affiliation, you can consider not only those that are on the Left, but also those who started out left but moved right, or those with original Marxist roots. Nevertheless, if you keep on talking about class, then you have all kinds of people writing about contemporary American class in both sociology and political science, who will talk about class and use various kinds of theories of class. 

So, the concept of class itself is not original nor is a class-based analysis, but the class-based analysis of intellectuals specifically is fairly disappointing. Which is why I had to create a lot of what I thought about that myself, while drawing on many of the sources that are already out there. 

To what degree do you think there is class consciousness among intellectuals? 

There certainly is a good amount of awareness of other intellectuals, but I am not sure I would go so far as to say there is class consciousness. And it's not so much that we set ourselves apart from other intellectuals, but rather that we don't realize that there are so many of us that we, in and of ourselves, constitute a class. For instance, in general a recent statistic showed that we were more and more likely to marry each other. And you can visibly see that, because American academics have a high rate of intermarriage these days, far more than they did 30, 40, 50 years ago. And in some ways, I wish we in fact had more of a class consciousness. I do say at some point in the book: I think both society and intellectuals as a group would be happier if intellectuals could say we had a society to belong to. One of the suggestions I make in the book is that intellectuals can do a better job of recognizing themselves more honestly as a group with a particular role to play—rather than denying it, rather than being embarrassed about it, rather than wishing they were somebody else. 

How has technology changed your findings? 

Think of the sort of counterculture imperatives that are attached to Silicon Valley: the fact that all these very entrepreneurial people consider bourgeois to be a bad word is because it involves wearing suits and not just black jeans and T shirts. So somehow, even in the process of making money, and thinking there's nothing wrong with making money, there is something wrong with being bourgeois. And I think to a certain extent, the sort of Silicon Valley ethos to disrupt / break things—well, that's what intellectuals have been thinking was their job for a couple centuries, right? So, they should like that in theory and be sympathetic towards it. But then there is the alternate perspective that intellectuals traditionally align themselves with, more so than the former, and that's that you're breaking the mom and pop stores and replacing them with powerful firms like Amazon and the like. So, you go from a couple of guys in a small garage to these incredibly wealthy and powerful companies that intellectuals then begin to criticize. So fundamentally, intellectuals believe that if you're really aiming at making money as opposed to just having this great idea, then there's something wrong with you from the intellectual perspective, and you're pursuing an inferior goal. 

What other books do you recommend to those who have read Mind vs. Money? 

There's a really interesting essay by George Stigler called The Intellectual and the Marketplace, and both Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution by Tocqueville would be great reads. You can never read enough Tocqueville! 

Do you consider yourself a member of the intelligentsia? 

Absolutely, and in writing this book, I should add, I don't want to claim moral superiority. I share all the prejudices of my caste. I just know their prejudices.

Past Reading Groups

Prof. Meir Kohn

 

S22:

The Economy of Cities (Jane Jacobs)

Why are some nations rich and others poor? How did the rich nations become rich? The modern literature on economic growth and development fails to provide satisfactory answers to these questions. Indeed, that literature offers less insight than Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, written in 1776. The book we will be reading, The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs, is very much in the spirit of Smith, and it is arguably one of the most important books on economics of the twentieth century. Jane Jacobs was not an academic or a trained economist. Despite this—or because of it—she was a highly original thinker!

W22

The Power of Productivity (William Lewis)

This book, written by a founder of the McKinsey Global Institute, addresses the most fundamental question in economics: Why are some nations rich and others poor? It does not do so in the aggregative manner of the conventional approach to economic development and growth. Rather it tries to understand how actual economies work by studying a number of them in detail—relying on the data and experience of McKinsey consultants working with companies in the countries concerned.

F21

The Welfare State (Bartholomew and Murray)

Is it necessary for the state to care for the poor, to provide education and health care for all, and to perform all the other functions that make up the welfare state4? If the state doesn't do these things, who will? How well does the state do these things? What is the effect of the welfare state on the well-being and happiness of its beneficiaries?

S21:

James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (1998)

Is it possible for wise leaders, advised by the best technical experts, to engineer improvements in human society? In Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott looks at the outcome of some major schemes to improve the human condition and asks why they have failed.

W21

William W. Lewis, The Power of Productivity: Wealth, Poverty, and the Threat to Global Stability (2004)

This book, written by a founder of the McKinsey Global Institute, addresses the most fundamental question in economics: Why are some nations rich and others poor? It does not do so in the aggregative manner of the conventional approach to economic development and growth. Rather it tries to understand how actual economies work by studying a number of them in detail—relying on the data and experience of McKinsey consultants working with companies in the countries concerned.

F20:

"The Economy of Cities" by Jane Jacobs

Why are some nations rich and others poor? How did the rich nations become rich? The modern literature on economic growth and development fails to provide satisfactory answers to these questions. Indeed, that literature offers less insight than Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, written in 1776. The book we will be reading, The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs, is very much in the spirit of Smith, and it is arguably one of the most important books on economics of the twentieth century. Jane Jacobs was not an academic or a trained economist. However, despite this—or because of it—she was a highly original thinker!

S20:

The Proper Role of Government in the Economy--

Clifford Winston, Government failure versus market failure (2006) and Frederic Bastiat, The Law (1850)

What is the proper role of government in the economy? How successful has the government been in 'correcting market failures'? What has been the government's impact on invention and on technological progress through its creation of intellectual property rights? What, in general, is it reasonable to expect of government intervention?

W20:

James Bartholemew, The Welfare State We're In (2004)

Charles A. Murray, In pursuit of happiness and good government 1988).

Is it necessary for the state to care for the poor, to provide education and health care for all, and to perform all the other functions that make up the welfare state? If the state doesn't do these things, who will? How well does the state do these things? What is the effect of the welfare state on the well-being and happiness of its beneficiaries? 

F19:

James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State (1998)

Is it possible for wise leaders, advised by the best technical experts, to engineer improvements in human society? In Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott looks at the outcome of some major schemes to improve the human condition and asks why they have failed.

S19:

Mancur Olson, Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships (2000)

W19:

William Lewis, The Power of Productivity 

This book, written by a founder of the McKinsey Global Institute, addreses the most fundamental question in economics: Why are some nations rich and other poor? It does not do so in the aggregative manner of the conventional approach to economic development and growth. Rather it tries to understand how actual economies work by studying a number of them in detail--relying on the data and experience of McKinsey consultants working with actual companies in the countries concerned.

F18:

Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities 

Why are some nations rich and others poor? How did the rich nations become rich? The modern literature on economic growth and development fails to provide satisfactory answers to these questions. Indeed, that literature offers less insight than Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, written in 1776. The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs is very much in the spirit of Smith, and it is arguably one of the most important books on economics of the twentieth century. Jane Jacobs was not an academic or a trained economist. However, despite this--or because of it--she was a highly original thinker!

S18:

The Proper Role of Government in the Economy (selections from Winston, Government Failure vs. Market Failure, Boldrin and Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly, and Bastiat, The Law)

What is the proper role of government in the economy? How successful has the government been in 'correcting market failures'? What has been the government's impact on invention and on technological progress through its creation of intellectual property rights? What, in general, is it reasonable to expect of government intervention?

W18:

The Welfare State (selections from Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In, and Murray, The Pursuit of Happiness: And Good Government)

Is it necessary for the state to care for the poor, to provide education and health care for all, and to perform all the other functions that make up the welfare state? If the state doesn't do these things, who will? How well does the welfare state do these things? What is the effect of the welfare state on the well-being and happiness of its beneficiaries?

F17:

James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State

Is it possible for wise leaders, advised by the best technical experts, to engineer improvements in human society? In Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott looks at the outcome of some major schemes to improve the human condition and asks why they have failed.

 

Prof. Douglas Irwin

W21: (with Prof. Linda Fowler)

Selected Federalist Papers

The violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on 1/6/21 reminds us of the fragility of political order. s citizen s of both parties lose trust in America's political institutions, it is instructive to go back to the original debates about how they were supposed to work. The framers of the U.S. Constitution understood from history that democracies were susceptible to demagogues but believed that humans could use reason to set up structures that would constrain the worst instincts of rulers and ruled. The framers were political realists who were wary of the misuse of government power and the dangers of majority rule.

F20

Steven Radelet, The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World (2015)

Most people believe that the majority of developing countries are hopelessly mired in deep poverty, led by inept dictators, and have little hope for change. But a major transformation is underway—and has been for two decades now. Since the early 1990s more than 700 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, six million fewer children die every year from disease, millions more people have access to clean water, and democracy—often fragile and imperfect—has become the norm in developing countries around the world. The Great Surge chronicles this unprecedented economic, social, and political transformation. It shows how the end of the Cold War, the development of new technologies, globalization, and courageous local leadership have combined to improve the fate of hundreds of millions of people in poor countries around the world.

F14:

David Friedman, Law's Order

What does economics have to do with law? Suppose legislators propose that armed robbers receive life imprisonment. Editorial pages applaud them for getting tough on crime. Constitutional lawyers raise the issue of cruel and unusual punishment. Legal philosophers ponder questions of justness. An economist, on the other hand, observes that making the punishment for armed robbery the same as that for murder encourages muggers to kill their victims. This is the cut-to-the-chase quality that makes economics not only applicable to the interpretation of law, but beneficial to its crafting. Drawing on numerous commonsense examples, in addition to his extensive knowledge of Chicago-school economics, David D. Friedman offers a spirited defense of the economic view of law. 

Prof. Jacob McNulty (PEP Postdoc in Philosophy)

S22

Albert Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests

In this reading group, we will look at the Passions and the Interests, a classic of 20th c. political economy by one of the great polymaths of the field: A.O Hirschman. In this work, Hirschman explores the rise of modern capitalism focusing on its ideological foundations. He does so through an ambitious project in intellectual history, centered around the question of how self-interest, regarded as a sin during the Christian Middle Ages, came to be positively valued as a principal contributor to economic growth in modern "commercial society." In the course of this sweeping investigation, Hirschman considers the perspectives of philosophers, economists and political theorists even of different religious traditions and literary texts (Pascal, Milton, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, Steuart). One of the main takeaways of Hirschman's study is an appreciation of the ways in which capitalism tames otherwise unsocial attitudes which, in pre-capitalist societies, often manifested themselves in violent conflict. Hirschman's book can be considered alongside other pioneering studies of the rise of capitalism by Smith, Marx, Weber, and Polanyi – though its unique thesis puts it in a class of its own even as it engages these other figures in dialogue. 

Prof. Lucas Pinheiro (PEP Postdoc in Government)

S22

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation

Karl Polanyi (1886-1964) was one of the most influential political economists of the twentieth century. This, his landmark work, offers a powerful critique of market liberalism as well as a historically-informed and robust social theory of what he calls "market society." It was in this book that Polanyi developed the concept of "embeddedness," a term for which he remains best known today. Contrary to the orthodoxy of classical and neoclassical liberal political economy, Polanyi argued that the market is not an autonomous, self-regulating economic entity, but is instead embedded in and subordinate to a series of social relations and political institutions.

Prof. Ian Cruise (PEP Postdoc in Philosophy)

W22

The Problem of Political Authority (Michael Huemer)

Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority concerns one of the central problems of political philosophy: The justification of the authority of the state.  One of the basic assumptions of liberal democratic political philosophy is that all human beings are free and equal.  But if we are all free and equal, how is it possible that some of us exercise legitimate (i.e., roughly, morally justified) authority over others? Huemer's book is an excellent introduction to this problem because he offers a critical survey of many of the common solutions to this problem (e.g., appeals to the consent of the governed and fairness in the maintenance of the state) and ultimately argues for a dramatic conclusion: States don't exercise legitimate authority.  Instead, we should adopt a form of anarchism. 

Prof. Cory Smith (PEP Postdoc in Economics)

S21

Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution

Europe and West Africa have long been partners in trade. By the 1600s, however, the exchange had become increasingly unequal and focused on the export of enslaved human beings. Green traces the impact of this trade on West African polities, arguing that it led to increasing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a small elite. As in Europe, there was eventually a revolutionary upheaval against such inequality, but the end result in West Africa was fragmentation and division rather than rejuvenation. This events set the stage for Europe's colonial ambitions in its "Scramble for Africa."

W21

Tonio Andrade, The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History 

Gunpowder was invented in China centuries before European countries became economically and military dominant globally. Yet, this advantage eventually eroded and by the early 1800s, Britain easily defeated China in the First Opium War. How and why did China fall behind these new powers? And what were the implications for its place in the world?

F20

Douglass North and Paul Thomas, The Rise of the Western World (1973)

For much of the world's history, "the West" lagged economically behind technologically advanced nations in the Middle East and Asia. This book asks one of the biggest questions in economics: why did that change? Co-written by the Nobel Prizewinning Douglass North, this work also marked a major transition in the study of economics. North's work was a new attempt to apply the modern economic theory of incentives and property rights to the study of history, especially history with a global scope. Should this be a foundational perspective with which to view history? Is it at least useful? Or is this an example of the economics profession overreaching with reductive ideas?

Prof. Henry Clark

S22

Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine

Putin's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 may turn out to be the most important world event in a generation. This PEP reading group will try to provide some perspective. Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow is not solely about Ukraine, or about Russia. Our book group will primarily concern those sections of the book that do focus on the relationship between Ukraine and Russia. It will remind us that February 24 was not the first time that a Russian government has attempted to extinguish the Ukrainian nation. We will be able to compare the experiences of 1929 and 2022. Among the questions that may arise in our discussions are: What was the role of political economy in the episode of 1929, compared with the current crisis of 2022? What is the international role of political economy today, compared with its role in 1929? Progressives like to say that there is an "arc of history," and that it "bends toward justice." Conservatives reply that human nature is always the same, and that cruelty and inhumanity are always live options to be actively prevented. What if anything does the comparison of 1929 with 2022 tell us about this perennial debate?

W22

Paul H. Rubin, The Paradox of Capitalism

Is capitalism based on competition rather than cooperation? According to generations of critical commentary, the answer is obviously yes. The "survival of the fittest," the "laws of the jungle," the "Darwinian" marketplace are among the most familiar images of modern life. But Paul H. Rubin thinks this is mostly a mistake. In The Paradox of Capitalism, Rubin argues that there is a much higher quotient of voluntary cooperation in a capitalist than in any known non-capitalist society, past or present. An economist himself (Emory University, Emeritus), Rubin partly blames his fellow economists for not doing enough to explain to their students, and to the general public, just what the balance of cooperation and competition really is in a modern economy. And the stakes are high, since for at least a century, people on all continents have been repeatedly seduced by visions of an alternative economy that ends up featuring much less voluntary cooperation than the capitalist system they have so often spurned. Is Rubin right? Can capitalism possibly be the most cooperative economic system available?

F21

Tyler Cowen, Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero (2019)

Cowen addresses topics such as work-life satisfaction, CEO pay scales, business ethics, financialization, crony capitalism and more, offering an upward revision of the moral and social value of business in modern life that some commentators now regard as prescient. Is he right? Or does the increasingly cozy relationship between big business and government (speech codes, privacy rights, vaccine mandates) augur a new era of corporatism, perhaps even proto-fascism?

S21:

Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies (2011)

This book group tackles some of the most controversial questions in public policy over the past four or five decades: the economics of sex, race, income inequality, global development, cities—as well as academe as a social institution for addressing these and related issues. How far is Sowell's critique of these economic "fallacies" justified and illuminating for our current public-policy debates? Is there something that can be done to improve the way that democratic polities think about these kinds of issues, and does Sowell's book help do it? 

W21:

Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (1980)

After a year when socially usable knowledge was often hard to come by, this book group turns to a classic study of the use of knowledge in any decision-making process. Time and again, Americans (and others) were surprised and frustrated in 2020 by the performance of some very smart people in various sectors of our social life.

The theme of Thomas Sowell's Knowledge and Decisions (1980) is that there are hidden but powerful reasons to expect frustration: notably, our systemic tendency as humans to overlook the role of incentives and constraints in the production, acquisition, distribution and use of knowledge in the decisions made by individuals, groups and institutions. Some of the analyses appearing in this work make for uncanny reading in the wake of 2020.

F20:

Friedrich Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty: Volume 1, Rules and Orders (1973)

What is the role of law in human social life? What does Hayek mean by a "spontaneous order," and does it entail a libertarian social order or a moralistic one? Indeed, what kind of morality is best suited to the global economy that Hayek endorsed?

X20:

Philip K. Howard, The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government (2014)

"Our regulatory state is failing us." So wrote economist and blogger Tyler Cowen—early and often—during the Spring pandemic of 2020. But is this true? Are the problems we face in dealing with our 20 million or so local, state and Federal employees anything more than the usual annoyances one would expect from any large, impersonal bureaucratic organization? Philip K. Howard thinks so. Ever since his best-selling book The Death of Common Sense appeared in 1995, Howard--lawyer, civic activist, and founder of Common Good—has been sounding the alarm about the dysfunctionalities of the contemporary administrative state. 

S20:

Alan S. Kahan, Mind vs Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism (2010)

Are intellectuals—journalists, writers, artists, and academics—a "permanently alienated elite in capitalist societies"? Do they have a more negative view of the economic system under which we live than most ordinary people do? Do they provide legitimacy and leadership to anti-modern movements that those movements would not otherwise enjoy? To Alan S. Kahan, respected intellectual historian of liberalism, the answer to all of these questions is Yes. And in Mind vs. Money, he tells their story and outlines their contours.

W20:

Eric Kaufmann, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities (2019)

In this ambitious book (described by reviewers as "brilliant," "definitive," "extraordinary," "magisterial," "required reading," "the must-read book of the year"), Eric Kaufmann addresses the complex connections among between race, immigration, globalization and democracy. What is the relationship between immigration and national identity? How has the issue of immigration provoked the rise of populism and the recent "crisis of democracy"?  Finally, what about political economy? What role did economic globalization have in changing notions of national identity, and what role if any might markets have in addressing its manifest problems?

F19:

Hans Rosling, Factfulness: Ten Reasons Why We're Wrong About the World, and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (2019)

Are activists today mostly misguided in their priorities? Are they guilty of unscientific or evidence-free emotionalism in the way they choose their various causes? Have they mainly misidentified the things that deserve public attention? Hans Rosling, one of the great "activists" of the past half century (before his untimely death in 2018), came to believe the answer to these questions was Yes. Moreover, he further concluded that the more exposure people had to higher education, the more misguided their approach to activism became.

S19:

Harry Frankfurt, On Inequality (and other selections)

Everyone "knows" that income inequality is a large, growing, and urgent problem. It erodes our sense of solidarity and social justice, weakens our economic opportunities, even harms our mental and physical health. Its inexorable rise, we are told, has been proven many times over, most notably by economist Thomas Piketty. Inequality helped fuel the election of Donald Trump in 2016, and is poised to dominate the election of 2020. Everyone knows that inequality is a leading problem of our time.

But what if what "everyone knows" is mistaken? What if income equality is "not a fundamental component of human well-being"? (Pinker 2018, 98) What if the current passion over inequality, on both Right and Left, is misguided or even counterproductive? In the last five years or so, an interdisciplinary array of researchers and thinkers have been coming to just that conclusion. Their arguments form the topic of this reading group.

W19:

Paul Hollander, From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship

What is it that attracts so many intellectuals---i.e., journalists, writers, artists, and academics---to dictatorship? Is it the same thing that attracts ordinary people? Is the appeal of left-wing dictatorship different from the appeal of right-wing dictatorship? Is the role of intellectuals in facilitating dictatorship a real problem, or are they too marginal a group to matter very much? Are we living in a time when the appeal of dictatorship is again on the rise throughout the world? Such are among the big questions addressed by this reading group.

S17:

Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion

Moral Foundations Theory, developed by Jonathan Haidt among others, raises provocative questions for our thinking about political economy in all of its dimensions---including: How much of our economic and political thinking is actually moral in nature? Where do our political and economic ideas come from? And why does it seem to be getting harder for people of different economic and political ideas to understand or sympathize with each other? The present reading group provides an opportunity to explore some of those and related questions. 

F14:

John Tomasi, Free-Market Fairness

Can libertarians care about social justice? In Free Market Fairness, John Tomasi argues that they can and should. Drawing simultaneously on moral insights from defenders of economic liberty such as F. A. Hayek and advocates of social justice such as John Rawls, Tomasi presents a new theory of liberal justice. This theory, free market fairness, is committed to both limited government and the material betterment of the poor. Unlike traditional libertarians, Tomasi argues that property rights are best defended not in terms of self-ownership or economic efficiency but as requirements of democratic legitimacy. At the same time, he encourages egalitarians concerned about social justice to listen more sympathetically to the claims ordinary citizens make about the importance of private economic liberty in their daily lives. Tomasi argues that free market fairness, with its twin commitment to economic liberty and a fair distribution of goods and opportunities, is a morally superior account of liberal justice. Indeed, according to Tomasi, free market fairness is social justice, American style.