• A Better Life: On the Economic Dimension of Moral Responsibility

      Schweidler, Walter (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-06-20)
      (Translated by Philip J. Harold.)Due to our nature as finite beings, we must establish an ordo amoris, an order of love, within the communities to which we belong in order to fulfill our part in the universal moral demand of our common humanity. This forms the foundation of the concept of responsibility. Those things that we are responsible for cannot fundamentally be divided from those people to whom we are responsible. Thus, in economic relations, a common interest by which conflicts of individual conscience can be resolved must be identified in order for ethical reflection on the economy to be possible. After establishing this groundwork, this article highlights the point of view guiding this connection as that from which ethical and economic rationalityreciprocally determine each other and at least partially overlap, concluding with a final note on managerial responsibility in the light of the foregoing.Walter Schweidler, "A Better Life: On the Economic Dimension of Moral Responsibility," Journal of Markets & Morality 15, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 103-115
    • A Biased View of Rationality As a Brake to Progress in Economics

      Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-23
      Efficiency and equity in economics always seem to be at odds. In terms of ultimate truth a dichotomy of this sort has little meaning because the use of a strategic rationality in the standard textbooks has privileged efficiency to the detriment of equality. In my estimation, this is a biased use of the concept implying that economic criteria are far from that of other social sciences. In this way, an incorrect alternative is presented: being scientific (economics) or being normative-political (other social sciences). Society does not maintain a unique equilibrium: Many different languages can live together and engage in communication with each other. Approaching the relation between efficiency and equity in economics as such can enrich the dialogue among sciences.Jess M. Zaratiegui, "A Biased View of Rationality As a Brake to Progress in Economics," Journal of Markets & Morality 6, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 201-209
    • A Biblical Precedent for the Coase Theorem?

      Schein, Andrew (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-15)
      This article suggests that the law of Deuteronomy 23:25, 26, which allows all people unlimited access to fields, is referring to ownerless fields that have only two possible uses, as farmland or as passageways for travelers. If the value of the land as a pathway for travelers is greater than the value of the land as farmland, then the field will remain as a passageway. However, if the value of the land as farmland is greater than the value of the land as a passageway, then the farmers will cultivate the land, provided the transaction costs from cultivating the land is lower than the expected benefits from the produce. These examples correspond to the Coase Theorem, as absent transaction costs, the land will achieve its maximum efficiency, but with sufficient transaction costs, then the land will not be used productively and will remain barren.Andrew Schein, "A Biblical Precedent for the Coase Theorem?" Journal of Markets & Morality 7, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 495-504
    • A Biblical/Theological Case for Basic Sustenance for All

      Van Til, Kent (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-15)
      This article defends the proposition that all human persons merit basic sustenance on biblical grounds. The nature of humankind, Gods design for creation, the distribution of the land of Canaan, covenant law, an option for the poor, and Jesus teaching all serve to support this proposition. The article does not propose specific political-economic means to effectuate this biblical mandate. Rather it seeks to show that the mandate requiring basic sustenance for all is a matter of justice that can be carried out in contemporary societies through a variety of political-economic strategies.Kent Van Til, "A Biblical/Theological Case for Basic Sustenance for All," Journal of Markets & Morality 7, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 441-466
    • A Brief Note on the State and Societys Moral Ecology

      Gregg, Samuel (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-06-20)
      Samuel Gregg briefly responds to a previous article by Daniel Finn that incorrectly asserts that a piece written by Gregg does not affirm a positive role by the state in shaping the moral ecology or culture of a given society. Gregg refers to a quotation by Finn (which was misattributed to Philip Booth) and the original context in which the quotation occurs.Samuel Gregg, "A Brief Note on the State and Society's Moral Ecology," Journal of Markets & Morality 15, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 7-10
    • A Catholic-Personalist Critique of Personalized Customer Service

      Tablan, Ferdinand (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2016-05-25)
      This article presents an ethical analysis and critique of personalized service in the tradition of Catholic social teaching (CST) that is both Catholic and Personalist. It tackles the ethical issues involved when service delivery is personalized, issues that affect both the consumers and the service providers. It focuses on nonprofessional services that are offered by low-skilled blue-collar workers through corporations that are organized to produce efficient service to a high volume of consumers. Customer service involves intersubjectivity, that is, interaction between two persons as subjects. Ethics in the service context is not only about treating consumers in a just manner; the threats to the personhood of the service providers are also significant, for their work cannot be separated from their very being. By focusing on the ethical issues of emotional labor and consumerism of human service, the study will argue that the human interaction in personalized service runs the risk of alienating us from our authentic selves and from each other. If the objective of personalized service is to create authentic human relationship in the service encounter, the latter can arise even in a nonpersonalized service. We do not have to personalize our actions in order to create genuine human interaction. Instead, what we must do is to treat each other as persons.
    • A Century of Christian Social Thought

      Noll, Mark A. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-28)
      I think it is possible to specify some reasons that, instead of seeing further from the shoulders of these giants (Leo XIII and Abraham Kuyper), we in the twentieth century have so often tumbled down from their heights. As a historians way of interpreting their legacy, I am drawn to the actual contexts in which the pope and Kuyper spoke in the 1890s, and so these contexts provide the structure for this paper: Words in Season; Anchors for a Tumultuous Twentieth Century; Altered Christian Circumstances; Weaknesses; Characteristics of Faithful Christian Social Thought.Mark A. Noll, "A Century of Christian Social Thought," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 137-156
    • A Christian Perspective on the Joint Stock Company

      Beed, Cara; Beed, Clive (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-01-25)
      Pope Benedict XVI, in Caritas in Veritate (2009), continues the long legacy of previous popes in emphasizing the importance of gospel values for building a good society. Pope John Paul II, in Centesimus Annus (1991, n. 5; original emphasis), had the same orientation, arguing that there can be no genuine solution to the social question apart from the Gospel. These expressions, and their development in the encyclical letters, can be developed into a methodology by which to assess the quality of existing societies and their components: Aspects of those societies can be compared with gospel values to determine how they measure up. Here, this exercise is performed for one facet of the advanced free-market societythe joint stock company or corporationeconomically the most important form of business organization. The structure of the corporation is assessed against three particular gospel values: hierarchy, responsibility versus duty, and inequality. The corporation is found not to measure up well against gospel values in these three areas. In the conclusion, alternative forms of free-market business organization are considered that could help mitigate the deleterious effects of the corporation in the three areas examined.Cara Beed and Clive Beed, "A Christian Perspective on the Joint Stock Company," Journal of Markets & Morality 13, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 101-122
    • A Communitarian Model of Business: A Natural-Law Perspective

      Arjoon, Surendra (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-08)
      This article compares and contrasts a communitarian view of business with business models under the liberalist and socialist doctrines. Specifically, it attempts to define a communitarian view that is based on natural-law principles. The communitarian view represents the proper balance and order between the claims of liberal and socialist views, and provides assistance to private initiative, while at the same time correcting its abuses and respecting its rights. The theoretical framework developed in this article utilizes a metaethical approach in specifying the underlying philosophical assumptions about rationality, primary purpose, basic unit, supreme value, market characteristics, dynamics of market regulatory mechanism, and juridical order. Today, there is need for a new humanism based on an integral view of the human person. Natural-law communitarianism recaptures the metaphysical certitude of the human person and thereby provides a philosophy of authentic human development. By its very nature, it defines the business organization that incorporates its social purposes.Surendra Arjoon, "A Communitarian Model of Business: A Natural-Law Perspective," Journal of Markets & Morality 8, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 455-478
    • A Creature among Creatures or Lord of Creation?

      Phillips, Benjamin B. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      The apologetic context of the doctrine of creation in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century is the supposed ecological crisis of modern civilization. Lynn White Jr. articulated the classic critique of Christianity as the driving force behind the modern ecological crisis, saying that Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt. White linked the rise of ecologically destructive science and technology to the values of Christianity.
    • A Doctrine for Diversity: Utilizing Herman Bavinck’s Theology for Racial Reconciliation in the Church

      Boyce, William E. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2021-01-21)
      In many evangelical circles, racial reconciliation is becoming a celebrated mandate, but the argument for racial and ethnic diversity in churches often rests on sparse proof-texting. This article explores the theme of diversity in Bavinck’s corpus, specifically focusing on the place of diversity in Bavinck’s doctrines of first things, last things, and the church. By rooting racial diversity under the auspices of dogmatic theology, the church gains much-needed rationale for the pursuit of such diversity in practice. Racial diversity is part of God’s created order, protected by God’s providence, redeemed through Christ’s atonement, purified in the eschaton, and preserved through the church’s catholicity. The pursuit of racial diversity within the church is a doctrinally mandated task, not merely part of the cultural zeitgeist. Bavinck’s Reformed legacy smiles upon such a pursuit.William E. Boyce, "A Doctrine for Diversity: Utilizing Herman Bavinck’s Theology for Racial Reconciliation in the Church," Journal of Markets & Morality 23, no. 2 (2020): 319-336
    • A Historian's Comment on the Use of Abraham Kuyper's Idea of Sphere Sovereignty

      Harinck, George (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-28)
      As a theoretical thinker, Kuyper did not surpass his contemporaries. A Free University professor stated at the burial of Abraham Kuyper in November 1920, that it was understandable that Kuyper, unlike his Dutch co-theologian Herman Bavinck, never was elected a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. He said: For the official academic world Kuyper has been more an object of study than a subject. He was never taken seriously as an academic. How doubtful this rather critical judgment may seem to us, it does not stand alone. In the 1930s the Dutch Reformed philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd made it clear that, though Abraham Kuyper was crowned with the most extraordinary gifts, he certainly had some blind spots. And the Reformed theologian Klaas Schilder was right, too, when he observed in 1947 that Abraham Kuyper, the theologian, often had had to make place for Kuyper the tactical general. In the Netherlands of the 1930s and 1940s, Abraham Kuypers theories were certainly not generally cherished as everlasting hallmarks of Christian thought.George Harink, "A Historian's Comment on the Use of Abraham Kuyper's Idea of Sphere Sovereignty," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 277-284
    • A Legacy of Stewardship

      Ballor, Jordan J. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-01-26)
      Earlier this year former Calvin College professor and librarian Lester DeKoster passed away at the age of ninety-three. DeKoster authored books on a wide variety of subjects focused on economics and liberty, including Communism and Christian Faith (Eerdmans, 1962) and Light for the City: Calvins Preaching, Source of Life and Liberty (Eerdmans, 2004).
    • A Lost Opportunity: The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church-A Review Essay

      Gregg, Samuel (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-02-27)
      Though not without its strengths, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church fails to present a clear and concise synthesis of the principles of Catholic social teaching. While parts of the Compendium are very precise, other sections are likely to facilitate considerable confusion among those who desire to know and understand the principles of the Churchs social doctrine. Careful analysis of the Compendiums structure, method, and content indicates that the texts problems primarily stem from departures from the guidelines set forth for the Compendiums drafting in John Paul IIs Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America (1999).Samuel Gregg, "A Lost Opportunity: The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church-A Review Essay," Journal of Markets & Morality 9, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 261-276
    • A Marketless World? An Examination of Wealth and Exchange in the Gospels and First-Century Palestine

      Noell, Edd S. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-02-08)
      Research on the economic context of Jesus teaching on wealth and exchange points to the need to take into account the nature and extent of market arrangements in first-century Roman Palestine. This context involves changing relations among reciprocity, redistribution, and market exchange. Studies of the relevant archeological evidence point to intra- and inter-regional trade, increasing specialization, and monetization. This article claims that in the Gospels we find Jesus recognizing a growing role for market exchange and a legitimate pursuit of economic gain through risk-taking alongside of the need for the practice of general reciprocity. Perceived hostility toward wealth and market exchange is explained in terms of the institutional features of the Palestinian agrarian economy, including extractive wealth transfer by the Roman state and religious authorities. The article concludes that Jesus teachings on wealth and market exchange have greater moral relevance to modern economic life than is commonly thought.Edd S. Noell, "A 'Marketless World'? An Examination of Wealth and Exchange in the Gospels and First-Century Palestine," Journal of Markets & Morality 10, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 85-114
    • A Medieval Approach to Social Sciences: The Philosophy of Ibn Khaldun

      Patriarca, Giovanni (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-01-25)
      In the history of Islamic philosophy Ibn Khaldun deserves a place of honor. His analytical method is a perennial contribution to the analysis of social dynamics. His critique of the omnipotence of the state, his denunciation of high fiscal spending, and his exaltation of political freedom show him to be a precursor of modern political science and of classical liberalism. His imperishable fame survives today, particularly for the Muqaddima, prologue to an ambitious work on the universal history never brought to an end: the Ibar. In this work, Ibn Khaldun affirms repeatedly that it is not the amount of money reserve or precious metals that is the measure of a countrys prosperity but the division of labor between the inhabitants. This, in fact, generates a virtuous circle that augments productivity in a right distribution of roles and risks.Giovanni Patriarca, "A Medieval Approach to Social Sciences: The Philosophy of Ibn Khaldun," Journal of Markets & Morality 13, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 175-188
    • A Model to Assess the Ethics of Benefits Distribution

      Wong, Alan; Dufrene, Uric (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-29)
      Many difficult ethical issues in business are associated with benefits distribution and they present a challenge to those who are confronted with such issues. This article presents a model that allows determination of the ethical implications of benefit-distribution practices or policies by using three simple tests. The tests ensure that distributive justice is considered when allocation decisions are made. The first test ensures that the most vulnerable recipient group is treated justly by other dominant groups. The second test prevents the interests of one group from being promoted at the expense of other groups. Through a mental exercise, the third test encourages unbiased consideration of the interests of all directly affected groups. To illustrate the models applicability, it is used to determine the distributive fairness of two controversial practices. The model is relatively easy to use but there are limits to its effectiveness.Alan Wong and Uric Dufrene, "A Model to Assess the Ethics of Benefit Distribution," Journal of Markets & Morality 4, no. 1 (Spring 2001):73-82
    • A Primer for Peer Review

      Pahman, Dylan (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2014-06-12)
      In the light of the poor state of peer review ethics and etiquette, the editors of the Journal of Markets & Morality conceived the idea for this peer-review primer. In the course of research, we have also reevaluated and reaffirmed our policy of double-blind peer review for reasons to be detailed herein. Additionally, certain structural issues enable and can even encourage the poor etiquette in question as well as other issues of quality that have come to our attention. In light of all this, we have added a few procedures with the hope of achieving higher quality reviews, streamlining the review process for everyone involved, and discharging our editorial responsibility with regard to maintaining a cordial and professional academic environment.Dylan Pahman, "Editorial: A Primer for Peer Review," Journal of Markets & Morality 17, no. 1 (2014): 1-7.Click here to discuss this editorial on Journaltalk.
    • A Response to Charles C. Bohl

      Pennington, Mark (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-23)
      We have in Charles Bohls response the construction of a straw man. He portrays my argument as thinly veiled apologism for sprawla charge also levied at a range of authors described as marketists. The latter term, used in a somewhat derogatory manner, reveals Bohls communitarian suspicion of the market and his commitment to wholesale regulation in order to protect American values. Bohl could have saved himself and this author some time and effort if he had made this position immediately apparent rather than to claim the intent to educate marketist opinion to the compatibility of New Urbanism with the free economy. I do not intend, in this short response, to defend the other authors whom Bohl puts in the marketist campthey are more than capable of doing that for themselves. I shall focus instead on the deficiencies in Bohls response and his commitment to political communitarianism.
    • A Response to Charles C. Bohl

      Pennington, Mark (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2012-03-23)
      Charles Bohl has presented a thoroughgoing critique of authors who portray the New Urbanism as part of an anti-market coalition seeking to impose its favored development pattern on an unwitting public. In doing so, Bohl has made an important contribution to the contemporary debate on planning and land use that should encourage the targets of his critique to refine their case. There is much in Bohls analysis with which I agree. The following remarks, therefore, will concentrate on the aspects of his essay that I find wanting. These fall into three broad areas. First, Bohl misrepresents the practical emphases of those he seeks to criticize. Second, Bohl is far too enamored with the results from survey analyses, which he offers in defence of New Urbanism. Finally, Bohl misconstrues the theoretical arguments for free markets and hence, fails to outline a clear set of principles within which the role of New Urbanism in a market-driven approach to land use could properly be specified.