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The GOP Answer to “War on Women”: Capitulation

A little while back in Crisis, I wrote about how supposedly pro-life Catholic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat, Ed Gillespie, when accused of wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade and enact a personhood amendment to the Constitution—as well as to "ban certain forms of contraception"—oddly replied that he actually wanted to make "contraceptives easier [...]

Faith and the Employer

The diocese of Lansing, where I currently attend mass, is a pretty good one, as such things go in the contemporary United States.  Our parish has a very good priest and I’m confident we won’t soon be joining in on the practice I’ve seen in the archdiocese of Detroit of worshiping in the round, complete [...]

The Economy of Communion in Africa

Africa is a continent of great spiritual and cultural wealth, but also of great material poverty. The way forward for African economies is not aid and development assistance, but prudent business management that enables African workers to attain higher levels of productivity for their efforts. But what model of business management is appropriate for the [...]

Corporate Personhood and 14th Amendment Rights

This article originally appeared on Ethika Politika One of the demands made by the Occupy Wall Street movement has been the ending of the legal fiction of personhood for business corporations.  This desire on the part of the Occupy movement is healthy, but the issue is actually more complicated than might at first appear. For corporate [...]

The Happiness of Believers

Do religious belief and practice affect the happiness of Europeans? In the first part of this two-part article, to answer our question we focused on the European Values Study. In this second part we deal with results from the European Social Survey. For an empirical analysis of the effect of religion on happiness, we use [...]

Catholics and “Usury”: A Tragic History

  This piece is paired with another view of usury from a distributist perspective, also running today. What makes “social teaching” different from the faith-and-morals magisterium of the Catholic Church? Most of the latter was settled early in Church history, with developments coming over time as subtle elaborations and careful applications of eternal truths. Social [...]

Another Sin We Don’t Want to Hear About

  This piece is paired with another view of usury from an Austrian economics perspective, also running today. The Catholic Church is always condemned for condemning sins. Since we are all sinners, sin is the last thing we want to hear about. But of course, if we don’t confess our sins and flee from our [...]

Free Enterprise and the Church: The Morality of Business and Work

The recent note from the Vatican on financial markets, along with the outbreak of protests in many cities against what is seen as the failures of capitalism, has once more brought up the question of what it is exactly that the Catholic Church teaches about economic issues. A recent contribution to this subject came with [...]

A Misguiding Note from the Vatican

The recent Note issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, "Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority," has liberals jubilant and conservatives apoplectic with its call “to create some form of global monetary management” (Sec. 4). This Note is a compilation of papal Social Teaching [...]

Profits are for People

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are demanding "people before profits" -- as if profit motivation were the source of mankind's troubles -- when it's often the absence of profit motivation that's the true villain. First, let's get both the definition and magnitude of profits out of the way. Profits represent the residual claim earned by [...]

Cooperation: A Free Market Benefits Everyone

The following will explain the most important idea in the history of social analysis. The notion (actually, it's a description of reality that is all around us but rarely noticed) has been around for many centuries. It was first discovered by late-medieval monks working in Spain. It was given scientific precision in the classical period. [...]

Walmart Case a Victory for Consumers

  The Supreme Court handed down a big win for American consumers this week, though the case had nothing to do with consumer protection. The court's decision involved the rules for determining what constitutes a proper class of plaintiffs, representing not just those individuals who have come forward to allege illegal behavior but others who have been [...]

Obama and Business: Irreconcilable Differences

Last week, I noted that various forms of the word "unexpected" almost inevitably appeared in news stories about unfavorable economic developments. You can find them again in stories about Friday's shocking news, that only 54,000 net new jobs were created in the month of May and that unemployment rose to 9.1 percent. But with news [...]

Dependency and Votes

Those who regard government "entitlement" programs as sacrosanct, and regard those who want to cut them back as calloused or cruel, picture a world very different from the world of reality. To listen to some of the defenders of entitlement programs, which are at the heart of the present financial crisis, you might think that [...]

The Late Great American Dollar

The economic crisis that hit the developed world a few years ago was devastating. Millions lost their jobs, their homes, and their retirements. But the next catastrophe -- which could be coming soon -- will make the recent recession feel like a boom time. Imagine gasoline prices really skyrocketing and the cost of food and [...]

Catholic Social Teaching and These Changing Times

Today, Gaudium et spes must be read in the light of Centesimus annus and other writings of the late-Pope John Paul II. These remain, by far, the most concrete, sophisticated, and accurate descriptions of the contemporary world. They are rooted in a thoroughly contemporary grasp of the philosophy and theology of the human person, community, [...]

Toward a More Just Economy

I can only do justice to John Mueller's magnum opus Redeeming Economics: Rediscovering the Missing Element (and it is "magnum," with 470 dense pages and copious footnotes) by comparing it to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Ludwig von Mises' Human Action, and the wrongheaded but immensely influential General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by [...]

What Is the New Statism?

After years of going nowhere, economic theory in the Catholic world just got a big upgrade from none other than the head of the Vatican's bank. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, a one-time private banker and professor of financial ethics at the Catholic University in Milan, has headed the Institute for Religious Works since 2009. Writing in [...]

And Now for Some Good News from Haiti…

It belabors the obvious to say that Haiti is a mess. I was there for the one-year anniversary of the January 12, 2010, earthquake and can verify the reports of how little has been done to put the shattered capital, Port-au-Prince, back together again. The overall look of the downtown area is something akin to [...]

The Love That Moves the Sun: Caritas and Capitalism

In one of the two greatest lines of world poetry, Dante bows gently toward "The Love that moves the sun and all the stars." Many moralists speak of love as the one fundamental and universal moral principle, the golden rule honored in all traditions. But what do we mean by love? In English we are [...]

Government Debt: Cure or Curse?

The U.S. Treasury announced on its website that, at year end, the national debt topped $14 trillion for the first time. This was an increase from $13 trillion on June 1, 2010, and $12 trillion at year end 2009. When the recession officially began in December 2007, U.S. debt to Gross Domestic Product was about [...]

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