Do Markets Corrupt Our Morals? (with Ginny Seung Choi), Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 978-3030184155.
The most damning criticism of markets is that they are morally corrupting. As we increasingly engage in market activity, the more likely we are to become selfish, corrupt, rapacious and debased. Even Adam Smith, who famously celebrated markets, believed that there were moral costs associated with life in market societies.
This book explores whether or not engaging in market activities is morally corrupting. Storr and Choi demonstrate that people in market societies are wealthier, healthier, happier and better connected than those of societies where markets are more restricted. More provocatively, they explain that successful markets require and produce virtuous participants. Markets serve as moral spaces that both rely on and reward their participants for being virtuous. Rather than harming individuals morally, the market is an arena where individuals are encouraged to be their best moral selves. Do Markets Corrupt Our Morals? invites us to reassess the claim that markets corrupt our morals.
Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster: Lessons in Local Entrepreneurship (with Stefanie Haeffele-Balch and Laura E. Grube), Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. ISBN: 978-1137559715.
Rebounding after disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can be daunting. Communities must have residents who can not only gain access to the resources that they need to rebuild but who can also overcome the collective action problem that characterizes post-disaster relief efforts. Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster argues that entrepreneurs, conceived broadly as individuals who recognize and act on opportunities to promote social change, fill this critical role. Using examples of recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Hurricane Sandy on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York, the authors demonstrate how entrepreneurs promote community recovery by providing necessary goods and services, restoring and replacing disrupted social networks, and signaling that community rebound is likely and, in fact, underway. They argue that creating space for entrepreneurs to act after disasters is essential for promoting recovery and fostering resilient communities.
Understanding the Culture of Markets, Routledge, 2012. ISBN: 978-0415777469.
How does culture impact economic life? Is culture like a ball and chain that actors must lug around as they pursue their material interests? Or, is culture like a tool-kit from which entrepreneurs can draw resources to aid them in their efforts? Or, is being immersed in a culture like wearing a pair of blinders? Or, is culture like wearing a pair of glasses with tinted lenses? Understanding the Culture of Markets explores how culture shapes economic activity and describes how social scientists (especially economists) should incorporate considerations of culture into their analysis.
Although most social scientists recognize that culture shapes economic behavior and outcomes, the majority of economists are not very interested in culture. Understanding the Culture of Markets begins with a discussion of the reasons why economists are reluctant to incorporate culture into economic analysis. It then goes on to describe how culture shapes economic life, and critiques those few efforts by economists to discuss the relationship between culture and markets. Finally, building on the work of Max Weber, it outlines and defends an approach to understanding the culture of markets.
In order to understand real world markets, economists must pay attention to how culture shapes economic activity. If culture does indeed color economic life, economists cannot really avoid culture. Instead, the choice that they face is not whether or not to incorporate culture into their analysis but whether to employ culture implicitly or explicitly. Ignoring culture may be possible but avoiding culture is impossible. Understanding the Culture of Markets will appeal to economists interested in how culture impacts economic life, in addition to economic anthropologists and economic sociologists. It should be useful in graduate and undergraduate courses in all of those fields.
Enterprising Slaves & Master Pirates: Understanding Economic Life in the Bahamas, Peter Lang, 2004. ISBN: 0-8204-7075-9.
Enterprising Slaves & Master Pirates is an interdisciplinary account of economic life in the Bahamas. The Bahamas’ economic story is an interesting tale, full of vibrant color—a story of short-lived booms followed by protracted busts, where discussions of economic success force us to mention fanciful figures such as the pirates Blackbeard and Calico Jack, and where accounts of economic woe, such as the collapse of the cotton market, are punctuated by descriptions of the clamor of Sunday markets or the unique practice of selfhire.
Since the almost simultaneous settling of the Bahamas by pirates and Puritan farmers in the 17th century, two ideal typical entrepreneurs have dominated the region’s economic life: the enterprising slave (encouraging Bahamian businessmen to work hard, to be creative and to be productive) and the master pirate (demonstrating how success is more easily attained through cunning and deception). In addition to Caribbean Studies scholars, this book will appeal to students of culture interested in economic development, and economists interested in how culture impacts development efforts.