A truly interdisciplinary enterprise, The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism examines the interplay of ideas about politics, economics, and law in American society from the pre-revolutionary era to the eve of the September 11 attacks. David F. Prindle argues that while the United States was founded on liberalism, there is constant tension between two ideals of the liberal tradition: capitalism and democracy.
Tracing the rise of natural law doctrine from neoclassical economics, Prindle examines the influence of economic development in late medieval society on the emergence of classical liberalism in early America and likens that influence to the impact of orthodox economics on contemporary American society.
Prindle also evaluates political, economic, and legal ideas through the lens of his own beliefs. He warns against the emerging extremes of liberal ideology in contemporary American politics, where the right's definition of capitalism excludes interference from democratic publics and the left's definition of democracy excludes a market-based economy.
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