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The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism Paperback – December 29, 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
In his capacity as a Catholic theologian he has been especially concerned to reply to the moral critics of capitalism who typically argue that the system abandons the public interest and the welfare of the community to self-interest and the pursuit of individual gain. In one of his other books, Free Persons and the Common Good, he attempted to retrieve from the Catholic literature a conception of the common good that is consistent with capitalism and the market order. Novak taook up this challenge with a tortuous excursion into the works of Catholic thinkers, among them Aquinas who Lord Acton described as 'the first Whig'.
His account of the American experience as an adventure of classical (non socialist) liberalism is more convincing. He identifies several valuable moral traditions which were called forth by democratic capitalist institutions in the early American colonies.Read more ›
In "Democratic Capitalism," Novak addresses the consistency of capitalism with church teachings on wealth. Novak recognizes that church teaching has been hostile to capitalism, as with much else of modernity. Yet, Novak contends that arguments against capitalism serve mainly to give aid and comfort to the Leviathan state. Indeed, Novak persuasively (if controversially) attributes Christian opposition to capitalism to two main sources: ignorance and antique world views. Church leaders and theologians tend to have either a pre-capitalist or a frankly socialist set of ideals about political economy.
To be clear, Novak does not believe that faith should be subordinated to capitalism. To the contrary, he recognizes that the divine plan was that we should enjoy the fruits of the earth and of our own industry. He simply contends that capitalism is the best way Fallen humans have yet devised to obey the Biblical command that we are to be stewards of God's world. Novak never loses sight of the basic proposition that it was equally the divine plan that God should be worshiped, obeyed, and feared.Read more ›
This is an important book. It links the liberal democratic order of capitalism with the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and thus at once removes capitalism from being a secular, non-discriminatory form of free market exchange to a human set of relationships between individuals based on a moral code.
Whether or not all philosophers would agree with that thesis is another issue. Since the enlightenment when religious authority was usurped and the secular society emerged, religion has been under attack in developed societies and today many in organized religions decry the relatavistic nature of our behaviour.
That said this is a book that should be read by anyone interested in the concept of the ethical corporate governance. It is a difficult book to read due to the densely written arguemnts which require close reading. It is a challenging book in many ways, especially to those who have strong personal belief systems. Nevertheless, Novak makes a strong case and his exposition deserves to be taken to a wider audience
My thoughts upon rereading this book again recently were that there is a need for a similar book to relate Capatilism to other major religions in a way which transcends any one religion in particular. In the light of recent events too there is a case for a treatise which relates Capitalism to the Moslem world to show that it is an inclusive rather than an exclusive social system.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Novak's work is a major attempt to reconcile modern discussions of economic and democratic structure with Christian theology. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Kevin Short
Mr. Novak presents a strong case for the merits of capitalism, and one that should be considered by any student of economics.Published 6 months ago by David Ebbert
Novak's seminal work. Necessary reading for all those interested in Catholic social doctrine. It's a truly important book written by a man we should all envy.Published 18 months ago by Max Bville
En esta obra de 1982, que leí en la app de Kindle, se convirtió en un clásico del género. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Eduardo Garcia Gaspar
This work should be read by all Left-Leaning people - especially Catholic "Liberals. Novak anticipated Centesimus Annus but the Conference of American Bishops failed to listen... Read morePublished on March 23, 2014 by Harvey J. Osborn
I never read books on economics, but this seemed perfect for me as the author relates how the economic, political, and moral/cultural systems intertertwine, and check and balance... Read morePublished on August 1, 2013 by Craig Ronan
A tough read sometimes, but a marvelous history and theory and facts regarding Democratic Capitalism. Read morePublished on July 14, 2013 by Rockwall TX Fan
This book is considered one of the most important books by Eastern Europeans who were struggling to free themselves of the Communist yoke. Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by JMN