Morality and the Market in Victorian Britain

Hardcover | April 1, 1998

byG. R. Searle

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In this lively and interesting study, G. R. Searle tackles the conundrum at the heart of Victorian life: how could capitalist values be harmonized with Christian beliefs and with concepts of public morality and social duty? Middle-class Victorians who broadly welcomed industrial growth andembraced the doctrines of `political economy' were sensitive to the charge that theirs was a selfish and materialistic creed. Consequently, if public morality was to be reconciled with the market, wage-labour had to be distinguished from slavery, investment from speculation, and entrepreneurialacumen from dishonesty and fraud. These ideas about citizenship and public virtue offered a greater challenge to rampant capitalism than any pressing need to alleviate poverty. Through its exploration of `Victorian values', this book provides lessons for all those engaged in the present-day debateabout the moral and social consequences of unleashing free market forces.

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In this lively and interesting study, G. R. Searle tackles the conundrum at the heart of Victorian life: how could capitalist values be harmonized with Christian beliefs and with concepts of public morality and social duty? Middle-class Victorians who broadly welcomed industrial growth andembraced the doctrines of `political economy' w...

Author of the forthcoming 1885-1918 volume of the New Oxford History of England

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:316 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.91 inPublished:April 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198206984

ISBN - 13:9780198206989

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`Searle illuminates a neglected area in the studies of the middle class and contributes significantly to the growing body of scholarship concerning commodity culture... a fine book, already extraordinarily ambitious in scope and detail, which offers scholars a complex and nuanced considerationof the varied and numerous moral implications of the market forces which came to dominant Victorian British culture.'Lori Loeb, Albion