An Intellectual History of American Market Reformers and their Critics
This chapter outlines the book’s main research question, its approach, its key methodological considerations, and situates the book in relevant research literatures, especially intellectual histories of American capitalism, neoliberalism, conservatism, business ethics, and corporate social responsibility. It explains why an approach is needed that situates ideas of progressive business in their historical context as well as in the context of their critics. While this is an intellectual history book, it draws upon, especially, Karl Polanyi, arguing that progressive business can be seen as an alternative promise of social protection. It also draws upon a spirit of capitalism perspective, and argues that the book in some respects can be read as a history of the spirit of American capitalism, particularly highlighting ideas about social responsibility. Finally, this Introduction defines and clarifies key analytical concepts.
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