Economics and political justice

The new capitalism that the Holy Father describes in Centesimus Annus is intended, as I understand it, to distinguish what he is proposing from the capitalism at the early period of the industrialization process. This “new capitalism” is marked by a keen appreciation of the need to maintain a vibrant and critical interaction between economics, culture, and politics. It must be emphasized that of those three, culture is the most important, and that at the heart of culture is morality, and at the heart of morality is religion. So this new capitalism is in many ways what writers such as Michael Novak describe as democratic capitalism. It is an idea that is historically embodied in a number of advanced societies, not least of all the United States. This is a very significant development in Catholic social teaching that will, in my judgment, nurture a new phase of Catholic social thought with respect to the relationship between a Christian anthropology and a Christian understanding of history as it relates to economics and political justice.

(1991)

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