chapter  4
37 Pages

How Much Is Enough? Counting and Accounting for Money in the Market as Moral Space

ByAndrew Herman

This chapter examines the emergence of a distinctively new figural actor in the moral economy of wealth, homo mercator or "market man." It argues that conjured through a reconfiguration of the narrative of fortune and virtue in which flows of money are united with the public good under the sign of "self-interest" within the material and symbolic space of the market. The chapter discusses how homo mercator performs and enacts a distinctive narrative of power and propriety with respect to the accumulation of wealth, in contrast to that elaborated by the Renaissance civic humanists. It looks at resolved through a rhetorical construction of moral selfhood that is based on four discrete virtues of the marketplace: justice, enterprise, extension of the territory of the market, and benevolence. The chapter presents how new language of virtue is articulated by contemporary men of the market.