If one of our main goals as a society is to maximize collective prosperity, and we were given the opportunity to pick between a range of moral beliefs and values, what kind should we choose?

That’s the central question of new book, The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior, by David Rose, chair and professor of economics at University of Missouri-St. Louis. For those unlikely to buy and read it, Rose recently discussed his book with Russ Roberts of the podcast EconTalk. Here’s a synopsis of their conversation:

Rose argues that morality plays a crucial role in prosperity and economic development. Knowing that the people you trade with have a principled aversion to exploiting opportunities for cheating in dealing with others allows economic actors to trust one another. That in turn allows for the widespread specialization and interaction through markets with strangers that creates prosperity. In this conversation, Rose explores the nature of the principles that work best to engender trust. The conversation closes with a discussion of the current trend in morality in America and the implications for trust and prosperity.

The entire podcast can be heard here.

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