Other Books in the Christian Social Thought Series

This series brings Christian moral reflection to bear on contemporary issues in social and economic life. Its volumes approach each subject by engaging seriously both the insights of the social sciences and the truths about persons and society available in the natural law and Christian theology. View all books in the Christian Social Thought series at Acton Institute.

Catholic Education in the West (2013)

Drawing on Church teaching concerning the nature of the person and the purpose of education, the authors examine the history of Catholic schooling and its current status in various national contexts. In this remarkably concise yet thorough treatment, they chart a promising path forward: policy reform that revitalizes parental freedom and responsibility.

Property (2012)

Property is an institution fundamental to civilization. What is a Christian perspective on the subject? Is the Catholic Church a stalwart defender of private property or a proponent of common ownership? The answers to these questions are not always simple and straightforward. In these pages, Professor Wolfgang Grassl examines Scripture, the Church’s social tradition, philosophy, and economics to arrive at a balanced and informed presentation of Christian social thought’s view of property, one that shatters conventional categories of thinking on property. His findings are relevant to a wide variety of policy questions, including eminent domain and copyright and patent law, as well as practical matters such as business management.

Catholic Education and the Promise of School Choice (2009)

American education is in crisis. Many public schools fail to provide the training necessary to succeed in a modern, global economy. Meanwhile, Catholic schools, traditionally the bastions of excellent academic and moral formation, suffer from funding shortages and lack of mission clarity. While these problems have many dimensions and require reform on many fronts, historian and education policy analyst Kevin Schmiesing identifies the overarching challenge as reinvigorating parental initiative and responsibility in schooling.

Trial By Fury: Restoring the Common Good in Tort Litigation (2002)

American tort law has become the subject of public scrutiny in the last decades. The criticism cast against it is that its current state bears economic incentives for abuse. But the tort law system engenders an even greater evil: the perversion of the human person.

Liberating Labor (2002)

Do labor unions offer the best protection for the worker? Liberating Labor questions the assumption that Christian social teaching unequivocally endorses all forms of trade unionism. If we consider the church's defense of freedom of association, for example, compulsory union membership is clearly at odds with Christian teaching.

Inhabiting the Land (2003)

Immigration is always a controversial subject. Catholic social teaching maintains that there is a right to migrate. But what does this mean, especially in societies saturated in “rights-talk”? This monograph explains the nature, origins and limits of the right to migrate, and illustrates some of its policy-implications.

The Social Mortgage of Intellectual Property (2007)

The AIDs crisis in Africa has given the once-esoteric question of intellectual property rights critical and immediate significance. The issue of pharmaceutical patents is but one dimension of a broad and complicated area at the intersection of law, economics, and ethics. In this monograph, philosopher David Carey supplies an overview of the philosophical and legal foundation of intellectual property rights and argues that a Christian view of those rights is at once appreciative and critical.

Doing Justice to Justice (2002)

This monograph attempts to unravel the distinct applications of social justice, economic justice, and distributive justice in modern Christian social thought. The purpose is to set up a framework for justice that properly distinguishes each type, and also clarifies the relationships between instances of these types.

Financial Crisis, Populism, and the Path to Prosperity in Latin America (2011)

Latin American economies enjoyed substantial growth in the early years of the twenty-first century, but the financial crisis beginning in 2008 called into question the sustainability of that progress. What are the keys to lasting prosperity in Central and South America?

Slitting the Sycamore: Christ and Culture in the New Evangelization (2008)

The effectiveness of Christian participation in political, economic, and social life depends upon understanding the proper relationship between the Church and the world, Christ and culture. In this monograph, Eduardo Echeverria illuminates the recent history of thought on this subject, and articulates a way of thinking about the relationship that can appeal broadly to serious Christians in today's world.

Beyond Distributism (2008)

Troubled by rampant injustice and inequality, many conscientious Christians advocate radical economic reforms. Distributism, a program that traces its popularity to Catholic writers Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, promotes the widespread ownership of property by tempering the market with guilds or similar associations. By its nature, distributism must invoke the power of the state, a dangerous move that ultimately undermines its own objectives. Economic freedom in a market system, Thomas Woods advises, is a context more conducive to justice and human flourishing.

International Aid and Integral Human Development (2011)

Christians in wealthy nations have an obligation to assist those who struggle to subsist in developing economies. The critical question remains: How is this duty best discharged? Conventionally, church leaders have often recommended government-to-government aid transfers as a major strategy to promote development in poor nations. Philip Booth, relying on the principles of Catholic social teaching and the evidence of development economics, argues that this strategy has been in large measure a failure.

The Good That Business Does (2006)

While the disciplines of economics and law teach us much about the character of contemporary business, their descriptions are limited. Drawing on the natural-law tradition's concept of goods, this monograph offers a fuller treatment of the role of business in society and of its moral obligations. It upholds the importance of business's fulfillment of private goods, and also outlines the ways in which it contributes to the common good.

A Biblical Case for Natural Law (2006)

Are you perplexed about the biblical standing of natural law? This study offers an explicitly biblical defense for the existence and practical importance of natural law. If natural law is taught in Scripture, it should certainly be affirmed in Christian theology.

Fair Trade? Its Prospects as a Poverty Solution (2010)

Fair Trade is an enormously popular idea in Christian and secular circles alike. Who, after all, could be against fairness? Victor V. Claar, however, raises significant economic and moral questions about both the logic and economic reasoning underlying the fair trade movement. In this monograph, Claar suggests that, for all its good intentions, fair trade may not be of particular service to the poor, especially in the developing world.

Pensions, Population, and Prosperity (2007)

In both developed and developing nations, old age security is a concern of the utmost importance. Wealthy nations face ailing government pension systems, while less developed nations struggle to construct viable mechanisms for assisting the needy elderly. In this unique and provocative monograph, Oskari Juurikkala, fully cognizant of these differences and drawing on the wisdom of the Christian social tradition, argues that the solution for both groups of nations lies in the same direction - away from reliance on the state and toward strong familial and other private networks.

A Theory of Corruption (2003)

There is no greater scourge that affects the proper functioning of any economic system than corruption. Tragically, corruption is pervasive in developing nations. It is found often on the part of public officials who delay the issuance or processing of public documents unless a monetary inducement is offered. It is found in the typical mismanagement and appropriation of national budgets toward the personal gain of political leaders. And it is found in ordinary individual transactions in the form of fraud, price gouging, and organized crime.

Books From Acton Institute Authors

Get Your Hands Dirty (2013)

Addressing topics ranging from the family to work, politics, and the church, Jordan J. Ballor shows how the Christian faith calls us to get involved deeply and meaningfully in the messiness of the world. Drawing upon theologians and thinkers from across the great scope of the Christian tradition, including Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Abraham Kuyper, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and engaging a variety of current figures and cultural phenomena, these essays connect the timeless insights of the Christian faith to the pressing challenges of contemporary life.

Tea Party Catholic (2013)

Over the past fifty years, increasing numbers of American Catholics have abandoned the economic positions associated with Franklin Roosevelt\'s New Deal and chosen to embrace the principles of economic freedom and limited government: ideals upheld by Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party movement but also deeply rooted in the American Founding. This shift, alongside America\'s growing polarization around economic questions, has generated fierce debates among Catholic Americans in recent years. Can a believing Catholic support free markets?

Islamic Theology, Constitutionalism, and the State (2013)

One of the most critical questions facing the world today is whether Islam is capable of accommodating itself to the constitutional forms of government that first arose in the West. Needless to say, opinion is sharply divided on this question.

Becoming Europe (2013)

"We're becoming like Europe." This expression captures many Americans' sense that something has changed in American economic life since the Great Recession’s onset in 2008: that an economy once characterized by commitments to economic liberty, rule of law, limited government, and personal responsibility has drifted in a distinctly "European" direction.

A Field Guide for the Hero's Journey (2012)

Property is an institution fundamental to civilization. What is a Christian perspective on the subject? Is the Catholic Church a stalwart defender of private property or a proponent of common ownership? The answers to these questions are not always simple and straightforward. In these pages, Professor Wolfgang Grassl examines Scripture, the Church’s social tradition, philosophy, and economics to arrive at a balanced and informed presentation of Christian social thought’s view of property, one that shatters conventional categories of thinking on property. His findings are relevant to a wide variety of policy questions, including eminent domain and copyright and patent law, as well as practical matters such as business management.

Defending the Free Market (2012)

Socialism has been discredited. The totalitarian states of the twentieth century have collapsed. And we beneficiaries of the globalized world economy are grateful that we enjoy plentiful food, clothing, shelter—and cheap electronics. But can any moral person really be for capitalism? Consumerism is an appalling spectacle, with Americans glutting themselves on all kinds of excess, while people in the developing world starve. The rich seem to be hogging far more than their share of the world’s resources. Free markets may be efficient, but are they fair? Aren’t there some things—life-saving health care, for example—that we can’t afford to leave to the vicissitudes of the market? Now, in Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, Father Robert Sirico—a Catholic priest, former leftist associate of Jane Fonda, and now a longtime champion of the free market—answers all these objections.

The Entrepreneurial Vocation (2001)

Both freedom and virtue are under serious assault today ... At this critical time, some supporters of either liberty or virtue are setting the two against each other, treating them as frequent antagonists, if not permanent opponents.

Catholicism's Developing Social Teaching (1992)

From its beginnings, the Catholic Church's moral teaching has always had a social dimension. As the centuries have passed, this teaching has developed as the Church has deepened its knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, while simultaneously taking account of social, political, and economic changes in the world.

Toward a Free Virtuous Society (1997)

Both freedom and virtue are under serious assault today ... At this critical time, some supporters of either liberty or virtue are setting the two against each other, treating them as frequent antagonists, if not permanent opponents.

Banking, Justice, and the Common Good (2005)

The art of creating, managing, loaning, and investing money has always been fraught with moral hazards. Unfortunately, the widespread habit of viewing banking in a less-than positive light has contributed to misunderstanding of a human activity that not only contributes to human prosperity, but also creates a sphere of endeaver in which people can genuinely pursue virtue.

Other Books From Acton Institute

Judaism, Law & Free Market (2012)

Judaism and Jewish religious, legal, and moral principles are often regarded as translating into support for broadly social democratic economic positions. Looking, however, at the Jewish treatment of themes such as property rights, social welfare, charity, generosity, competition, and concepts of order, Joseph Isaac Lifshitz demonstrates that Judaism's view of the market is more complicated—and favorable—than most people suppose.

Judaism, Markets, and Capitalism: Separating Myth from Reality (2007)

Corinne and Robert Sauer, co-founders of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, contend that "it is not at all true that Judaism is a set of principles that endorses income redistribution and other progressive social programs." Instead, they say, Judaism is a system of thought that more naturally aligns itself with the basic principles of economic liberalism.

Globalization, Poverty, and International Development (2007)

The origins, nature, and implications of Globalization—especially for developing countries—are often misunderstood. In this monograph, Lord Brian Griffiths examines the theory and practice of globalization, and underlines its positive influences on wealth-creation and its success in raising millions out of poverty. Griffiths warns, however, that the benefits of globalization are predicated on the culture that it reflects, and urges Christians to work to ensure that globalization reflects the principles of Christian anthropology rather than narrowly secularist alternatives.

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