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Catholic Social Doctrine and the Market Economy: Free Persons and Free Markets Comments

The free market must operate within certain moral, institutional, and legal norms, or else it becomes something other than a free market.  The free market is not an autonomous, free-for-all area exempt from moral law or from the hand of positive law. The market must always be protected and kept free, and it must be safeguarded from those who would seek to use it wrongly, whether by fraud, manipulation, abuse of economic power, or ... Continue Reading

11 - 20 of 20 Comments

  1. Michele
    2 years ago

    Terrific article! Here are my favorite points:
    - the clear explanations of why a free market is good (to utilize resources better and facilitate the exchange of products, the “contract” aspect of each exchange);
    - but there is also the clear reminder that "free" does not mean lawless or moral-less market, that there are ethical and legal boundaries to be respected, that not everything is to be regarded as a commodity (think of human organs!);
    - and finally, the very good point (in my view) that both Business and Gov need to work together: in general, the free market and the governing bodies of the State ought not to be viewed as competitors seeking to occupy the same realm, but as cooperators in the same aim: "It is necessary for the market and the State to act in concert, one with the other, and to complement each other mutually.
    And finally to answer Alex: Yes, greed is the problem but nevertheless, we (as a society, as a culture, as a voting force) we can certainly regulate the market in an effort to curb the greed (just like we curb cigarette or alcohol consumption). The economy crises of the last few years happened because financial institutions AND governments have deregulated the market to the point where it became a global casino. And who is paying the price? The little people. Not the millionaires or CEO's, not the Senators or high elected officials.

  2. David Falkner
    2 years ago

    The free-market economy is all well and fine when the conditions that support this market are of the sort that make a free market the market of choice. However, there are instances where the market can be distorted precisely because it is a free market. If the only people who were to suffer from this were those that involved themselves in the free market, that would be okay. You get what you pay for. But, all too often, the distortions in the market settle down into commodity prices. This drives up the commodity prices as all of the 'unwilling' (for lack of a better term, perhaps indirect would be good) participants in the market pick up the slack of the market failures. Watch this happen. Track prices of commodities relative to the stock market. Stocks tank, commodities rise. True, the money will eventually move back to the stock market, but not before a certain inflation has taken place in the commodities market. One that is borne by all, even those who bear none of the gain.

  3. Mark M
    2 years ago

    Vance please stop trolling. Your values are clearly not Catholic and are clearly out of touch with any Catholic doctrine. These markets serve us. We do not serve them. If the casualties of capitalism are too many, then a new idea is needed to ensure freedom both socially and economically. But the fact is, we have become slaves to the market.

  4. Alex Hradek
    2 years ago

    Greed in the free market is not a result of the market being free. It's a result of its citizens being corrupted by immorality and crooked social values. When you live in a era that puts personal gratification and pleasure above everything, especially above the lives of the most vulnerable, what else do you expect?

    The market is not the problem, man is.

  5. Vance
    2 years ago

    renton, yes we have a strong recollection of the Bankruptcy of our country and the attack on our 1st Amendment Rights by your Dear Leader. I am certain that the 16 million people who are unemployed or under employed will remember Obama this November.

  6. Andrew
    2 years ago

    @renton:
    There is no partisanship involved in the Catholic Social Doctrine. It is based upon something beyond any political platform, something beyond politics: human nature itself. Because the Republican platform happens to be a little more attuned to the economic principles of Catholic Social Doctrine does not mean it's the Catholic party, nor does have anything to do with the Iraq war (which the article did not even address tangentially!) I assure you Republicans have as much to learn from the Catholic Social Doctrine (and the Just War Theory which is part of it) as Democrats, as Conservatives, Liberals,Tea Partiers, as Independents, as Paulites, as Libertarians. 'Tain't no one that can claim independence of it because it is based upon human nature and the natural law.
    The Catholic Social Doctrine provides us foundational principles and values that hopefully will allow all Catholics, men and women of good will, and hopefully all Americans, to argue political issues using reason, and not, as too often occurs, through the spouting of mere ideology, irresponsible rhetoric, and spin.
    In the words of Bishop Chaput, the Catholic Social Doctrine allows Catholics to serve their country by living their Catholic beliefs in political life.

  7. Rob
    2 years ago

    The first line of the article is a perfect description of what has become of our supposed free market. vance, as much as the agencies you listed disrupt the market, they pale in comparison to the free for all that almost destroyed the world economy. I have a hard time understanding why so many seem so singularly focused on those agencies but have basically ignored what the big banks and wall street did and cotinue to do to this economy? How do you get to a place where that is ok? How can you accept a government that has placed capital in a higher postion than the human person? vance, this really isn't an either/or, but a both/and. But no matter how disruptive those agencies are, they don't weild the power that these wall street types yield. We cannot cotinue to ignore that.

  8. abey
    2 years ago

    Man is not created for the market, but the market for the man, where the former is to marketing the human, the latter is to developing the human & on this Morality & Ethics play the Major part, then again Morality & Ethics arise out of a source, GOD, & to understand Him it takes faith, which makes Faith as the prime mover, not just to Economy & the free Market but to every walk of life to the overall liberty of Body & Spirit, which again makes the direction of the faith to be of the utmost importance, to which is through the one & only Christ Jesus for the truth is in Him & in its reverse is the Pagan beliefs, in its inconsistency, like being in the epicenter of a storm where it appears unusually calm, but impossible to remain in the eye undeceived 'cause the Storm, together with the center moves in the unsteadiness, in the veerings of the winds to violent destructions.

  9. renton
    2 years ago

    do not let youself be led by a party that adamantly proclaimed there were weapons of mass distruction and put US in debt of 2 TRILLION dollars and counting for ever and to take care of the veterens, and they will want to cut back on what was promised, just wait and see. Or have you forgot about that part of our history already???

  10. Vance
    2 years ago

    Outstanding article. This well articulated so even a Marxist Democrat can understand it. Free Markets = Free People. This is why Obama and the Marxist Democrat Party are staunchly against free markets. It is against their religion. The first step to getting back a Free Market system is to rid our country of Obama, the Marxist Democrat Party, the EPA, ESA, and OSHA.


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