Jagdish Bhagwati defends free markets against ” capitalism’s petty detractors “:
Inevitably, the crisis on Wall Street has revived the never-ending notion that markets undermine morality. Oliver Stone, ever restless to recapture the days of former glory, has begun production on a sequel to the 1987 movie Wall Street, which immortalized Gordon Gekko as the symbol of markets and greed. But the debate on how markets affect morality has not always been a slam dunk for capitalisms naysayers . . . .
After two and a half centuries of this fascinating debate, I have to say that my own sympathies lie with those who have found markets, on balance, to be on the side of the angels. But I should also add that I find the specific notion that markets corrupt our morals, and determine our ethical destiny, to be a vulgar quasi-Marxist notion about as convincing as that other vulgar notion that
ownership of the means of production is critical to our economic destiny. The idea that working with and within markets fuels our pursuit of self-interest, greed, avarice, and self-love, in ascending orders of moral turpitude, is surely at variance with what we know about ourselves.
Yes, markets will influence values. But, far more important, the values we develop will affect in several ways how we behave in the marketplace.