Theology, Ethics, and Economics
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Baylor University Press
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Many of us watched in 1989 when the Berlin wall fell, and with it the cold war ended. It could have heralded the dawn of a new day in which old, tired arguments between the so-called political left and right were likewise dismantled. That did not happen. Some on the political right quickly proclaimed victory, even viewing that day ...
Part I. The Logic of the Market: An Investigation of First Principles
1. Prophets and Profits: Economics and Theology in Conflict?
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What are the first principles of economics? To know this we must first ask what is its end. An answer to that question is simple: efficiency. The end of the market is to allocate scarce resources as efficiently as possible. This may seem intrinsically opposed to the end of theology, which is friendship with God, but we should not judge ...
2. The facts About Values
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If efficiency is the true end of economics and friendship with God that of Christian theology, then are their first principles “the individual will to create value” and the “journey to discover virtue” respectively? That is to say, economists assume that the basic form of action is an individual who chooses, and in so choosing produces ...
3. What Makes Theology "Political"?: Come Let Us Reason Together
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Nancy Fox and I presented the differences between the ends and first principles of theology and economics. We divided in order to unite but did not do much uniting. This chapter is an essay in practical reasoning that will begin to provide a context within which that uniting might take place. I will not resolve the differences between ...
4. The Theology of economics: Adam Smith as "Church" Father
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Now that we have developed an account of ad hominem practical reasoning, I want to use it to argue theologically with the founding father of modern economics, Adam Smith. The neoclassical liberal tradition that originated from his work certainly seeks the good; it is not some unregenerate form of evil that only desires to produce ...
Part II. The Corporation and Everyday Economic Life: A Traditioned Theological Inquiry
5. Corporations and the Ends We Serve
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How should Christians think about the corporation? This is not a question simply for CEOs, bishops, theologians, or business majors. It is a pressing question for every Christian because corporations make possible our daily food, our electricity, our transportation, our shelter, our clothing, and everything else that sustains daily existence. ...
6. Usury: Avarice as a Capital Vice
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Has greed become good? Do we still have an understanding of deadly or capital vices, which should be avoided even if it would cause more, rather than less, suffering? What is greed and how does it relate to the virtues? It is usually discussed as a threat to the virtues of charity, justice, and liberality. It is also discussed in terms ...
7. A Catholic Church and Global Market: The Tale of Two Corporations
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Does the social justice required to sustain the usury prohibition and the virtue to which it points provide an alternative to the question whether Christians must be socialists or capitalists? The account of theological economics presented in the previous chapter can only make sense in terms of those Christian doctrines that make charity ...
8. Offering Our Gifts: The Politics of Remembrance
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How should we read economic exchanges? For Christian theology they must be read in terms of the offering we present to Christ in our worship. This is the work that fulfills our purpose as creatures. The central act of this worship is the Holy Eucharist. It compels us to ask how the gifts we exchange there illumine the necessary economic ...
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Page Count: 245
Publication Year: 2007