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Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Law

  • Woods Thomas E.

    (State University of New York)

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    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) l’église catholique, bien qu’opposée au socialisme, a adopté une attitude sceptique et suspicieuse à l’égard du libre marché. Les papes successifs ont soutenu les syndicats, l’idée de « juste salaire », et une variété d’autres interventions. Jusqu’à présent les recommandations économiques de l’Eglise ont constamment été contreproductives et ont été promulguées sans égard vis-à-vis des lois économiques. L’enseignement économique des Papes est rempli d’hypothèses non formulées (comme celle d’utiliser l’Etat pour forcer les employeurs à augmenter les salaires ou les bénéfices) qui, si elles sont fausses, mettent en question l’analyse morale qu’elles sous-tendent.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 1-25

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:13:y:2003:i:2:n:11
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