Capitalism and Christianity: The Possibility of Christian Personalism

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Georgetown University Press, Sep 23, 1999 - Religion - 192 pages
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With socialism in eclipse and market economies gaining acceptance worldwide, a new kind of ethics is needed to address social injustice and inequity. Richard C. Bayer debunks the present direction of mainstream social ethical theory by advancing market systems themselves as a means toward promoting justice and meeting human needs.

Observing that the primary vehicle for Christian ethics since the New Deal has been the welfare state, Bayer argues instead that market systems can provide a basis for reconciling capitalism and Christianity in both theory and practice. He proposes Christian personalism as an ethical approach that emphasizes the dignity of the human person and promotes the achievement of personal development through participation in a modified market economy.

Bayer's work draws on Catholic social thought and orthodox economics, adopting a post-Keynesian approach that deemphasizes the role of the state in the achievement of economic justice. As an example of a personalist economic reform agenda, he describes a "share economy" that advances solidarity among workers, promises greater economic efficiency, and increases employee participation in profit-sharing and decision-making.

Capitalism and Christianity integrates moral arguments with economic analysis to challenge prevailing thought in contemporary Christian social ethics. By incorporating key insights of liberalism while providing constructive criticism of that perspective, it creatively addresses both personal development and the common good.

 

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Contents

Democratic Capitalism and Catholic Social Thought A Moral Reassessment
3
The Present State of the Debate in Christian Ethics
4
Development in Modern Catholic Social Thought
9
Three Ideas Wrong
31
The Moral Imperative A Redistributionist State
37
An Overview
41
The Enabling State
55
The Moral Objection
65
Conclusion
94
Toward a New Synthesis Christian Personalism and Democratic Capitalism
101
Toward a Personalist Social Anthropology
102
Personalist Method
120
Personalist Interpretation of Social Justice
124
Conclusion
128
TOWARD A CHRISTIAN CAPITALISM
133
Christian Personalism Toward Implementation
135

Conclusion
67
CAPITALISM WITHOUT INDIVIDUALISM
73
Liberal Anthropology Free Equal and Rational
75
John Rawls
76
Michael Walzer
84
Robert Nozick
88
Corporate Responsibility
138
The Share Economy
141
Macroeconomic Implications
154
Conclusion
166
Index
171
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About the author (1999)

Richard C. Bayer is an assistant professor of Christian social ethics in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. He also is co-chair of Manhattan's "Employment Roundtable" of government and corporate leaders and advisor to "Workforce America," a career counseling organization in Harlem.

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