“Is equality passé” by Bowles and Gintis is a terrific essay which I thoroughly recommend to all who’ve not read it. It’s a much stronger foundation for what has often been the flailing around of the ‘third way’ than some of the more widely acknowledged high priests like the turgid Anthony Giddens.
But it’s the beginning or at least a progress report from a very interesting research project. Since it’s dated 1995 there’s a lot more where that came from. I’m reading a book edited by Bowles and Gintis in 2005 titled promisingly from my point of view Moral Sentiments and Material Interests. Adam Smith’s sociology from his ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’ is working its way back into relevance again after all these years. TMS was pretty much a curiosity as recently as the 1980s and has enjoyed rising acclaim and perceived relevance ever since. We have even found the neurological microfoundations of those moral sentiments that Smith anatomised so well in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. A big call I know – but follow the link and see what you think.
And expect another post from me on strong reciprocity and regulation – a link I should have made when Lateral Economics was writing “Regulating for innovation” (pdf).