New books


The social institutions of capitalism

Evolution and design of social contracts

Pursey Heugens, Hans van Oosterhout og Jack Vromen

Edward Elgar 2004, 168 s. ISBN 1-84376-495-4
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

‘Heugens, van Oosterhout and Vromen have pulled together a diverse set of ideas around a common theme, social contract theory, that provides a useful underpinning for our ideas about what makes societies work in the ways that they do. Rather than attempting to integrate ideas from scholars of game theory, contract law, organizational theory, economic philosophy and business ethics, moral, and political philosophy, they outline a common framework on which these disparate ideas all cohere. Fundamentally, the editors suggest that for a social contract to be practical and workable, we as people living in societies have to agree to the underlying values and norms within a particular social contract as rational and reasonable agents. This type of synthesis provides a helpful framework for understanding what the limits and boundaries of social contract theory are and should be useful to thinkers in all of the domains covered by the authors in the book.’
– Sandra Waddock, Boston College, US

‘I have read the introduction of The Social Institutions of Capitalism with great pleasure. This book about contractarian theories provides deep insights into the foundations of economic systems and organizations like firms. Fundamental questions about why individuals would accept authority, about the behavioural assumptions in modern economic theory and about the foundation of the institutional fabric of society are very profoundly discussed by leading experts in the field.’
– John Groenewegen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Offering a diverse set of contributions to current social contracting research, The Social Institutions of Capitalism illustrates how social contracts necessarily underlie and facilitate all forms of capitalist production and exchange.

The editors bring together novel contributions from fields as diverse as economics, evolutionary game theory, contract law, business ethics, moral philosophy and anthropology to offer multifaceted but subtly intertwined perspectives on fundamental questions concerning human cooperation.

This interdisciplinary book, with articles written by academics who are widely known and respected in their respective fields, will be of great value to those interested in political theory, moral philosophy and business ethics.


1. Social Contract Theories: E Pluribus Unum? 2. Stable Social Contracts 3. The Relational Constitution of Contractual Agreement 4. The Foundations of Trust 5. Economics and the Social Contract 6. Social Contracts, Sic et Non 7. Sources of Normativity: Reflectivity versus Social Contracting 8. Justice-Conventionalism, Justice-Platonism and the Social Contract Index
Contributors: K. Binmore, D. Campbell, T. Donaldson, T. Dunfee, P. Heugens, B. Nooteboom, H. van Oosterhout, T. van Willigenburg, P. Vanderschraaf, T. Vandevelde, J. Vromen