The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life - Revised Edition

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Princeton University Press, Apr 12, 2010 - Business & Economics - 400 pages

The Company of Strangers shows us the remarkable strangeness, and fragility, of our everyday lives. This completely revised and updated edition includes a new chapter analyzing how the rise and fall of social trust explain the unsustainable boom in the global economy over the past decade and the financial crisis that succeeded it.

Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, history, psychology, and literature, Paul Seabright explores how our evolved ability of abstract reasoning has allowed institutions like money, markets, cities, and the banking system to provide the foundations of social trust that we need in our everyday lives. Even the simple acts of buying food and clothing depend on an astonishing web of interaction that spans the globe. How did humans develop the ability to trust total strangers with providing our most basic needs?


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Introduction to the Revised Edition
Tunnel Vision
From Murderous Apes to Honorary Friends How Is Human Cooperation Possible?
Unintended Consequences From Family Bands to Industrial Cities
Collective Action From Belligerent States to a Marketplace of Nations

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About the author (2010)

Paul Seabright is professor of economics at the Toulouse School of Economics. He has been a fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford, and Churchill College, University of Cambridge.

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