Can 18th century ideas about morality apply to today’s businesses?


ERIE, PA (Sept. 20, 2016) – On the heels of introducing The Invisible Hand,’s new teaching unit launched last month, comes its companion, Morality in the Marketplace.  Both teaching units were inspired by famed 18th century philosopher and economist Adam Smith, whose worldview of economics and ethics changed the world.

In Morality in the Marketplace, Smith’s idea of the Impartial Spectator is introduced. As someone who watches and judges us and our behavior, the Impartial Spectator helps us know right from wrong. But what about businesses? Is there any morality there?

“The truth is that most businesses are ethical,” said Director of Curriculum Development Susan Gable. “In Morality in the Marketplace, students learn how businesses really succeed.”

As the teaching unit shows, the more ethical businesses are, the more they succeed. Using Whole Foods as an example, students learn how consumers often vote with their wallets, choosing to deal with businesses that create positive results in society.

Morality in the Marketplace is available for purchase on, or it can be selected as a free annual video by US educators.  It can be streamed, free of charge, by anyone. The teaching unit covers numerous educational standards across several subject areas, including Social Studies, Language Arts and Health (Character Development) for grades 9-12+. Educators can find which standards it covers specific to grade, subject area, and school district by using the Standard Alignment Tool on



For more than a decade, has been offering engaging educational teaching units that encourage thoughtful consideration and critical thinking skills around civics, entrepreneurship, economics, the sciences and other philosophical perspectives that have proven to improve people’s lives.  Currently more than 300,000 classroom teachers and homeschoolers employ the videos, teacher’s guides and fresh ideas from the website to generate stimulating and meaningful classroom and at-home dialogue among students, teachers and parents. is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit educational initiative headquartered in Erie, PA. For more information, visit the website,

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