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The Importance of Being Civil by John A. Hall

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CHAPTER 2

Sympathy and Deception

We have seen that commercial society helped (and continues to help) civility by making the exit from political power bearable given that access to wealth serves as a means to status and comfort other than that of the possession of political power. More important still is the view, present in Montesquieu, that moneymaking is more innocent than the search for power. Maynard Keynes captured this point when commenting on his own social philosophy:

There are valuable human activities which require the motive of money-making and the environment of private wealth-ownership for their full fruition. Moreover, dangerous human proclivities can be canalised into comparatively harmless channels by the existence of opportunities ...

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