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However, academicians are entitled to contribute to the development of the body of thought that may then influence teaching in the course of time.


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The principles of Catholic social teaching are clear, but their precise application to most economic issues is usually prudential and often provisional. Much Catholic social teaching leaves room for prudential judgments to be made, and development of Catholic social thought is one of the methods by which this occurs, hopefully in a liberal--in the best sense of the word--and charitable atmosphere. To clarify, it seems that we should be interested in libertarian errors that stray from Catholic social teaching rather than neoconservative errors that stray from Catholic social thought.

Catholic Social Teaching: Church's Teaching on Economic

In short, Finn's way of presenting the apparent problem is confusing and conceptually inexact. After this confusion, however, Finn is clear in what he is trying to achieve in the article.

A Catholic Framework for Economic Life

He argues that scholars with whom he disagrees wrongly and selectively use Catholic social teaching for their own purposes by integrating their ideas with those of Catholic social teaching. Although this is not my main complaint about Finn's article, we should be careful not to close off discussion. There is nothing wrong with conservative scholars in Catholic social thought contributing to two or more kinds of debate.

First, without in any way suggesting disloyalty to the tradition of social teaching, they may use economic reasoning to shed light on prudential judgments. For example, the Church does not say that there should never be a state-mandated minimum wage and neither does it say that there always ought to be one. Liberal economists--in fact, any economists studying the economics of wages--can help our understanding of whether it is prudent to legislate for a minimum wage. To give another example, scholars might use public choice analysis to show why increasing the power of international law-making bodies as currently constituted might not be a prudent way of realizing the common good on an international level--even if Catholic social teaching has expressed favorable views of such bodies in principle.

Lasch, C. Locke, J. Lodge, G. Knopf, New York. Luttwak, E. MacIntyre, A.

Integrating Catholic Social Teaching With Economics and Natural Science

McCann, D. McInerny, R. Miranda, J. Niebuhr, H.

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Noonan, J. Novak, M. Nozick, R. Oswald, R. Phillips, R. Pichler, J. Post, J. Rawls, J. Ryan, J. Sandel, M.

Schall, J. Schriver, D. Schultze, C. Schumpeter, J. Likewise, we need a new social economy to meet the challenges of the present day, one in which the human being is firmly at the centre, where all are included in economic social life, and where creation is cherished and protected. To make this vision a reality, a social economy would need to apply principles like solidarity, subsidiarity, and the common good to the challenges of the modern market economy.

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis expounded on this idea of solidarity. In Catholic social teaching, solidarity is always balanced by subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is concerned with identifying the right level of authority for undertaking decisions that affect the common good. It seeks to protect the freedom, initiative, and responsibility of lower levels, while making sure that higher levels which tend to have the most power provide proper assistance to these lower levels.

Of course, when it comes to global problems that do not respect national boundaries, the appropriate level of authority is the supranational level. Climate change is an obvious example. The same is true for other environmental problems, including the loss of biodiversity; the strain on water supplies; and pollution of the air, the soil, the water. So far, I have critiqued the liquid economy and proposed the social economy in terms of principles.

I would now like to focus on three practical implications of moving from a liquid to a social economy: i employment; ii inequality; iii climate change and environmental degradation. It is no exaggeration to say that the world is going through a jobs crisis. According to the ILO, about million people in the world are unemployed today. This includes about 70 million young people.

We all know that unemployment has pernicious social consequences—it leads to worse health, lower educational attainment for children, and a loss of trust and social cohesion.

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What does the future hold in store? We are living through a period of immense technological advance, but this technology is raising some real problems for employment, especially for those with fewer skills. More and more people are being discarded as machines take up their tasks.

This is part and parcel of the throwaway culture.

The threat of economic nationalism – the debate within Catholic social teaching | Acton Institute

This is why Pope Francis argues that when we replace workers with machines, we work against ourselves. To fully serve the common good, business is called upon to put the creation of employment ahead of a fixation of profits. This is essential to a social market economy and it is one of the areas where we really have lost our way as a society.

In the former social market economy, unions played a vital role. Nowadays unions have lost a lot of power in this globalized economy. How we can involve our young people in this building project if we fail to offer them employment, dignified labour that lets them grow and develop through their handiwork, their intelligence and their abilities? How can we tell them that they are protagonists, when the levels of employment and underemployment of millions of young Europeans are continually rising?

Let me now turn to the second issue: inequality. The rise in inequality over the last 30 years has been stark. There is a huge ongoing debate about the sources of inequality, which I will not get into. Suffice it to say that many economists point to technology and globalization as the main culprits.