Christianity and Economics

I am reprinting a quote from Professor Bainbridge as it appears on mirrorofjustice.com:

To be sure, Christians are called to a higher standard of behavior than that of fallen man. If the purpose of economic analysis is to predict how people will respond to changes in legal rules, however, can we assume Christian behavior by the masses of a secular and God-less society? No realistic social order can assume “heroic or even consistently virtuous behavior” by its citizens. A realistic social order therefore must be designed around principles that fall short of Christian ideals. In particular, the rules must not be defined in ways that effectively require every citizen to be a practicing Christian. Christian visions of Justice therefore cannot determine the rules of economic order. Instead, legal rules and predictions about human behavior must assume the fallen state of Man, which is precisely what I have tried to suggest Economic Man permits us to do.

This sounds thoroughly Augustinian to me and is something I have always found attractive. For Augustine, the distinction between the city of man and the city of God is a real one. Man, because he is an imperfect creature with original sin, will never be able to attain the City of God on earth absent of God. A similar sentiment is echoed, albiet in a Pagan way, by Sopochiles in Antignone. Creon does not realize the limit of his power (and refuses to submit to natural law) and thus causes a great and terrible tragedy.

When Catholics engage in civil discourse, they must recognize that whatever system man will approve, it will contain flaws and aspects which are undesirable. Democratic Republicanism is a flawed system. Likewise, Capitalism is also flawed. Yet Both are the best systems man has come up with to deal with man qua man, that is man as he exists in his total being, and not some idealistic illusion.


At 3:04 ص, Anonymous غير معرف said...

I agree


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