Almost a decade old, but well worth reading. Sam Bowles argues that liberal culture and order do not so much dissolve natural human sociability and compassion in the market nexus, but rather enable positive-sum ties of solidarity by weakening the zero-sum intra-clan sorority combined with inter-clan enmity:

Sam Bowles (2011): Is Liberal Society a Parasite on Tradition?: "Market-like incentives may crowd out ethical motivations, illustrating the parasitic liberalism thesis and the cultural and institutional processes by which it might work....Cross-cultural behavioral experiments...cast doubt on the thesis: liberal societies are distinctive in their civic cultures, exhibiting levels of generosity, fairmindedness, and civic involvement that distinguish them from non-liberal societies.... The idealized view of tradition embodied in the "parasitic liberalism" thesis overlooks aspects of non-liberal social orders that are antithetical to a liberal civic culture. Thus while markets and other liberal institutions may indeed undermine traditional institutions as claimed, by attenuating familistic and other parochial norms and identities, this may enhance rather than erode the values necessary for a well functioning liberal order...


#noted

Comments