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God's Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State Hardcover – December 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226134830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226134833
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,160,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eight years after President George W. Bush began federal support for faith-based social services, the program is still contested by both the right and the left. Daly, a senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, offers the current economic crisis as a good reason why President Obama should redouble efforts to more fully embrace it. His dense, scholarly review of the history of faith-based initiatives, which he traces to 19th-century German and Dutch welfare systems, may be the most comprehensive and evenhanded to date. Daly charts the evolution of the First Amendment's establishment clause from strict institutional separation of church and state to one that emphasizes equal treatment for religious and secular service providers. Daly is convinced that faith-based social service providers offer the best moral standards for protecting families and communities, though it is clear he is referring mainly to Christian providers. In pluralistic 21st-century America, where people of no particular faith are the fastest-growing segment of the religious landscape, it's not clear that the public is ready to trust religious institutions more than secular ones. (Dec.)
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Review

“Bold yet balanced, God’s Economy will confound liberals and conservatives alike. By harnessing neglected insights from Catholic, Calvinist, and other overlapping traditions of reflection on authentic social pluralism, Daly’s book offers to put both the market and the state back where they belong—in the service of the plural communities in which people learn to love, serve, and even worship. Incisive, informed, and inspiring, this is public philosophy that packs a practical punch. Much needed in places high and low, God’s Economy takes the vital discussion of mediating institutions and faith-based initiatives three long steps forward. Daly is an exemplary guide."
(Patrick McKinley Brennan, Villanova University)

God’s Economy is a remarkable effort to rethink the nature of state power, markets, and social life. Daly makes long-neglected conceptions of plural sovereignty relevant to a wide range of contemporary debates. The result is a bold, unique contribution to social thought."

(William A. Galston, The Brookings Institution)

“Balanced, thoughtful, and loaded with practical policy implications, Daly’s God’s Economy lifts the debates surrounding charitable choice and Bush’s—and now Obama’s—faith-based initiatives above the cultural wars of the left and the right by documenting their roots in Catholic and Calvinist social pluralist thinking. It thereby makes a powerful case for protecting communities—especially families and religious communities—from both the market and the state. In doing so, Daly persuasively argues that faith-based initiatives, if fully implemented, will lead to public policies more, not less, committed to helping those who are poor and on the margins of society."
(Stephen V. Monsma, Calvin College)

"Eight years after President George W. Bush began federal support for faith-based social services, the program is still contested by both the right and the left. Daly, a senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, offers the current economic crisis as a good reason for why President Obama should redouble efforts to more fully embrace it. His dense, scholarly review of the history of faith-based initiatives, which he traces to nineteenth-century German and Dutch welfare systems, may be the most comprehensive and evenhanded to date. Daly charts the evolution of the First Amendment's establishment clause from strict institutional separation of church and state to one that emphasizes equal treatment for religious and secular service providers."
(Publishers Weekly)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By firstlightlover on January 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lew Daly is a think-tank scholar known for his writing on religion and social policy, but with God's Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State, he has made a genuinely profound contribution to American political thought. This beautifully executed volume combines the detailed scholarship of an academic monograph with the strong argumentation and voice of a public essayist. Washington Post writer E.J. Dionne provides a richly detailed Foreword that helps to contextualize Daly's achievement in the broader tradition of Christian social thought.

This is an absorbing work with detailed arguments that reward close attention, and, as several of the uniformly glowing jacket endorsements suggest, it is difficult to categorize on the political spectrum. On the one hand, it is a work about social policy and church-state law, with a relatively conservative constitutional outlook on controversial issues such as faith-based hiring rights in federally-funded social aid programs; yet, unlike other conservative critics of "strict separationism" in social aid programs, Daly puts the destructive, "state-like" powers of big business and other market institutions at the center of his family- and faith-centered critique of American liberalism.

In the first half of the book, drawing on a detailed comparative policy history of church-state conflict in public welfare systems, Daly reveals important parallels between the "subsidiary" welfare states of Christian Democratic Europe (particularly in Germany and the Netherlands) and America's "faith-based turn" in welfare reform since the mid-1990s.
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