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Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics

Overview

The author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities looks at business fraud and criminal enterprise, overextended government farm subsidies and zealous transit police, to show what happens when the moral systems of commerce collide with those of politics.

The author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities looks at business fraud and criminal enterprise, overextended government farm subsidies and zealous transit police, to show what happens when the ...

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Overview

The author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities looks at business fraud and criminal enterprise, overextended government farm subsidies and zealous transit police, to show what happens when the moral systems of commerce collide with those of politics.

The author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities looks at business fraud and criminal enterprise, overextended government farm subsidies and zealous transit police, to show what happens when the moral systems of commerce collide with those of politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Altogether magnificent... Probably no single thinker has done more in the last fifty years to transform our ideas about the nature of urban life."—Chicago Tribune
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Why do things go wrong in human society? It's a question that would normally stun the mind into a torpor, but it doesn't at all in Jane Jacobs's intellectually invigorating new book, somewhat unfriskily titled "Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics". . . goes up on the bookshelf with Jane Jacobs's earlier works, the classic "Death and Life of Great American Cities," "The Economy of Cities" and "Cities and the Wealth of Nations," all there to be consulted from time to time for their quirky and original views and the way they cut through to the essence of things. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A sometimes provocative but simplistic discussion of morality in the form of a Platonic dialogue between a Manhattan publisher and his party guests. (Jan.)
Library Journal
In her latest contribution to liberal theory, Jacobs ( Cities and the Wealth of Nations , LJ 6/15/84) argues that modern societies utilize two distinctive moral systems--one being suited to the world of commerce, the other to the world of politics. Commercial morality is unsentimental, nonpartisan, and efficacious; political morality is personalistic, expansive, and vaguely altruistic. The problem is that we don't always know which system of morality to employ in concrete situations. Furthermore, the wrong choice can have disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, Jacobs invents a rather wooden cast of characters who engage in a Socratic dialog that reproduces the author's perspective on the two fundamental types of morality. As a result, the book's credible philosophical message becomes obscured by the superficiality and hamfistedness of the characters' conversations. A few readers may find Jacobs's literary device helpful; most will find it distracting. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/92.-- Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679748168
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 1,255,012
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Jacobs was the legendary author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a work that has never gone out of print and that has transformed the disciplines of urban planning and city architecture. Her other major works include The Economy of Cities, Systems of Survival, The Nature of Economies and Dark Age Ahead. She died in 2006.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Armbruster's Summons 3
2 A Pair of Contradictions 23
3 Kate on the Commercial Syndrome 33
4 Why Two Syndromes? 51
5 Jasper and Kate on the Guardian Syndrome 57
6 Trading, Taking, and Monstrous Hybrids 93
7 Anomalies 112
8 Casts of Mind 123
9 Armbruster on Systemic Moral Corruption 131
10 Syndrome-Friendly Inventions 158
11 Hortense on Castes and Flexibility 179
12 Pitfalls of the Methods 191
13 Hortense's Defense of Moral Flexibility 205
14 Plans and Champagne 212
Appendix: The Commercial and Guardian Moral Syndromes 215
Notes 217
Acknowledgments 235
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