Constructing a Catholic Political Economy; The Christian Anthropology and Market Capitalism




Ha, Oliver

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In this thesis, I will argue that the vision of the human person implicit within market capitalism differs from the anthropology outlined and interpreted through Catholic Social Teaching; the anthropology of each posits different ends and purposes for human flourishing. This is a debate between two schools of thought within Catholicism. On the one hand are the compatibilists (my own neologism). Compatibilists maintain that capitalism and the liberal democratic environment in which it flourishes are at bottom morally neutral, allowing individual Christians to freely pursue their religious ideals. On the other hand are those whom I term incompatibilists. They argue that the free market inculcates values inimical to Christian beliefs insofar as it promotes economic liberty as an end in itself while neglecting humanity’s highest and true ends. For them, the contractual, profit-seeking conception of human life (captured by the term homo economicus) is not morally neutral and has a solvent effect on morality and religion. Lastly, I will argue how the Church, given the fact that global markets will endure and grow, can create an alternative political economy with distinct practices in order to act as a signpost in the desert.



Theology, Economics, Philosophical Anthropology, Political Economy, Political Theology