No Harm: Ethical Principles for a Free Market

Synopsis

In this hard-hitting but measured and carefully reasoned book, Burke contends that the economic marketplace should be completely free from government regulation, except for third-party effects, such as the environment. No Harm illuminates the economic issues with insightful emphasis on the moral dimension. Using the Principle of Mutual Benefit and the Principle of No Harm, both developed in much detail, together with an analysis of the concept of causality, Burke shows it is a requirement of justice that governments allow buyers and sellers the freedom to make whatever agreements they wish, so long as they do not harm others. The most plausible explanation for the economic problems besetting America, is that they stem from essentially the same cause as that which brought about the demise of the Soviet Union: excessive governmental intervention in economic life. The remedy prescribed from that diagnosis would be a completely free market, a laissez-faire economy, freedom of contract. But American opinion makers reject this view because of its ethical implications. No Harm makes the case that market freedom is a requirement of sound ethics. As Fred Miller responded, "Burke offers compelling arguments that the free market is not only more efficient, but is morally superior to central planning and regulation". No Harm fulfills the need to ground the free market economy in ethics and philosophy.