Tuesday, December 28, 2004
I agree with what appear to be the points of agreement between Mark and Rick. The issue isn't just Catholics borrowing from and benefiting from "law & econ" -- it's Catholics saying in the first place that the human vocation requires Catholics to specialize in, among other things, economics, and then doing that work in economics in ways that advance the fundamental concerns Christians have for life in this world (which, apparently, has something to do to advancing to the next). From Fred Lawrence's introduction to Longeran's Macroeconomic Dynamics (at p. lxxi): "Lonergan's deeply Christian anthropology sets his approach to democracy apart from the secularism of both liberalism and socialism. He had no doubt that God is at work in human history bringing about a divine solution to the problem of moral evil. But as a theologian he also thought this supernatural solution can only be fully transformative of human history with our free cooperation in the form of human creativity. Such creativity entails understanding the economic mechanism as both independent of and subordinate to the political domain. In his classses Lonergan often expressed his dissatisfaction with social ethicists' tendency to be content with 'vague moral imperatives' instead of figuring out how moral precepts can be derived from the immanent intelligibility of economic processes. So he often asked, Where were the Christian counterparts to the 'crazy old man' Karl Marx, sitting in the British Museum voraciously reading and relentlessly studying about political economy?" (I think I have some answers to that rhetorical question, and they include stonewalling). Catholics' special contribtions will include insisting that the economy serve people's true goods rather than merely satisfy their preferences.