The “Double Thank You” of the market happens all the time and we barely notice it. We do it largely without conscious thought. When you do think about it, it’s actually rather strange. In many situations where we thank someone for having done something for us, they follow with a “you’re welcome,” or the somewhat less enthusiastic “no problem.” We tend to see those situations as one-sided, as if we had received a gift and were offering the verbal equivalent of a thank-you note.
When we unreflectively treat social interactions as mutually beneficial when they are not, we blur the line between the mutual benefit of the market and the zero-sum game, or worse, of politics. Not only does that reduce our resistance to the exploitative nature of coercive relationships, it leads us to under-appreciate the virtues instilled by the market. The more we can do to be conscious of the mutual benefit of the market and the deeply ingrained habits of virtue we have absorbed from it, the more we will appreciate those aspects of the market and recognize their absence in relationships of coercion and exploitation.
If we want the market order to survive, we will have to continue to treat it both in theory and practice as a realm of moral and virtuous behavior.