Quakers, Free Trade and Social Responsibility

  • Richard TurnbullEmail author
Part of the CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance book series (CSEG)


A conundrum lies at the heart of reflecting upon the role of the Quakers in relation to ‘free trade,’ and their exercise of both business and social responsibility. Why was it that the Quakers in Parliament advocated free trade as a measure of liberal reform for the benefit of the poor whilst opposing legislation to protect children and young people employed in factories? Yet, the Quakers are also presented as model employers and philanthropists. This chapter reviews this paradox and seeks to explain the nature of the Quaker conscience, Quaker spiritual, political, philanthropic and business beliefs and practices, and how this helps to explain the complexity of Quaker response to social legislation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Enterprise, Markets and EthicsOxfordUK

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