God and Capitalism
"Silicon Valleys" on a reduced scale, in his words -- made a vital contribution to capitalism in the late medieval period. Monasteries made many of the technological discoveries that were vital to the start of the industrial era. He also traces the origins of capitalism to developments in 13th-century Italy, well before the rise of Protestantism.
Catholicism also has much to contribute to today's economic world. For example, it sees the person as an end in himself, and not just as an instrument through whom consumption can be increased. Catholicism also reminds us that the economy should not limit itself merely to multiplying material production, but should instead take into account all aspects, including the spiritual, of human nature, says Gotti Tedeschi. To achieve this capitalism needs to be influenced by norms and moral decisions that can orient us in deciding what is good for us, as creatures made up of both body and spirit.
In this sense the version of capitalism that sees it ordered according to the "law of the jungle," where egoism and exploitation dominate, is alien to the Catholic vision of how the economic order should be organized.
Free to choose
Gotti Tedeschi also explains how we should understand the concept of freedom of action, or liberty, which is an important part of capitalism. The human person was created in God's image and given the task of continuing the Creator's action in the world. With Christ's incarnation we see how human work acquires a redemptive dimension. Exercising this human creativity, however, requires freedom of action, but it is not an aimless freedom, or a freedom exercised without responsibility.
A Catholic capitalism, he continues, enables us to be children of God and creators using the means we have available and our human genius. This is the true capital in capitalism, which then directs the activity of the material and financial means used to produce wealth. What would be immoral would be not to produce all the wealth possible, or to invert the correct order of means and ends.
What Gotti Tedeschi recommends is an economy inspired by Christian values, which exalts human nature and man's lasting vocation -- and which is directed by people who believe that their lives have a lasting meaning.
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God, Capitalism, Catholic, Economy, Bank, Money
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