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Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Law

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  • Woods Thomas E.

    (State University of New York)

Abstract

Since Pope Leo XIII wrote Rerum Novarum (1891), the Catholic Church, while opposing socialism, has adopted a skeptical and suspicious posture with regard to the free market. The popes have supported labor unions, the idea of a "just wage," and a variety of other interventions. Yet the economic recommendations of the Church have consistently proven counterproductive, and have apparently been devised without recourse to economic law. Papal economic teaching is filled with unstated assumptions (for example, that using the state to coerce employers into raising wages or increasing benefits) which, if false, throw into question the moral analysis based on them.Depuis que le Pape Léon XIII a écrit Rerum Novarum (1891) léglise catholique, bien quopposée au socialisme, a adopté une attitude sceptique et suspicieuse à légard du libre marché. Les papes successifs ont soutenu les syndicats, lidée de « juste salaire », et une variété dautres interventions. Jusquà présent les recommandations économiques de lEglise ont constamment été contreproductives et ont été promulguées sans égard vis-à-vis des lois économiques. Lenseignement économique des Papes est rempli dhypothèses non formulées (comme celle dutiliser lEtat pour forcer les employeurs à augmenter les salaires ou les bénéfices) qui, si elles sont fausses, mettent en question lanalyse morale quelles sous-tendent.

Suggested Citation

  • Woods Thomas E., 2003. "Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Law," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-25, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:13:y:2003:i:2:n:11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de Roover, Raymond, 1958. "The Concept of the Just Price: Theory and Economic Policy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 418-434, December.
    2. Murray N. Rothbard, 1995. "Economic Thought Before Adam Smith," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 377.
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