This chapter outlines the book’s unusual approach. Rather than compare characteristics of moral beliefs to levels of economic performance across societies, it undertakes a thought experiment launched by the following question: If a society’s sole objective is to maximize general prosperity, and it can choose its own moral beliefs, what kinds of moral beliefs would it choose? It briefly discusses how such beliefs provide a moral foundation for economic behavior. It connects moral beliefs to economic behavior through trust behaviour, and reviews evidence on the relationship between trust and economic performance. It reviews some of the major issues covered in the book including genuine trust, group size, and the role of culture. In then provides an overview of the central arguments.
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