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The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace Paperback – May 25, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"... John Medaille has written a most interesting book, The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace. Medaille, a successful businessman who teaches in the Business Leadership program at the University of Dallas, traces the history and development of economic theory, examines the contribution of the Catholic social encyclicals, explains and critiques the evolution of contemporary capitalism, and provides both the theoretical underpinning and concrete examples for the successful 'practice of justice in the modern business world.'
"...I found the text both informative and fascinating.... The author has a great gift for exposing the intersection of economic theory and human values. He demonstrates again and again the unfortunate consequences of theories which depend on the wrong values, or which deny (naively) that they depend on any values at all.

"Medaille ultimately demonstrates that some form of distributism (remember Chesterton and Belloc?) is essential for the proper operation of free enterprise in such a way that it actually expands prosperity, rather than progressively constricting it to a smaller and smaller group. In fact, he argues persuasively that an initial widespread distribution of ownership is necessary for capitalism to work at all. He adduces a long history and clear economic affairs leads directly to economic equilibrium, which is critical for human flourishing, and so should be a preeminent goal for any culture.

"Students of economics should read this book as a corrective to the false claims of many theories to be scientific, immutable and value-free. Businessmen should read it for both a better understanding of their calling and the inspiration to make important contributions to the larger culture precisely through their business activity. Professors of economics and business may very well wish to make the book required reading. In fact, anyone who wonders about production, exchange and modern economic inequities will find in this book a highly intelligent treatment of how we got where we are, and what the way forward should be.

"Even in the United States, the sphere of prosperity is steadily shrinking, the gap between rich and poor is widening, and the purchasing power of most citizens is artificially sustained by borrowing heavily against the future. For these reasons alone, it is none too soon to read The Vocation of Business."- Dr. Jess Mirus, Catholic Culture, August 7, 2007

(Catholic Culture)

"A highlyoriginal, intriguing and challenging book...This book is so rich and wide-rangingthat any brief synopsis easily dilutes its strengths. TheVocation of Business offers a feast to chew on."--America

“… John Medaille has written a most interesting book, The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace. Medaille, a successful businessman who teaches in the Business Leadership program at the University of Dallas, traces the history and development of economic theory, examines the contribution of the Catholic social encyclicals, explains and critiques the evolution of contemporary capitalism, and provides both the theoretical underpinning and concrete examples for the successful 'practice of justice in the modern business world.’
“…I found the text both informative and fascinating…. The author has a great gift for exposing the intersection of economic theory and human values. He demonstrates again and again the unfortunate consequences of theories which depend on the wrong values, or which deny (naively) that they depend on any values at all.

“Medaille ultimately demonstrates that some form of distributism (remember Chesterton and Belloc?) is essential for the proper operation of free enterprise in such a way that it actually expands prosperity, rather than progressively constricting it to a smaller and smaller group. In fact, he argues persuasively that an initial widespread distribution of ownership is necessary for capitalism to work at all. He adduces a long history and clear economic affairs leads directly to economic equilibrium, which is critical for human flourishing, and so should be a preeminent goal for any culture.

“Students of economics should read this book as a corrective to the false claims of many theories to be scientific, immutable and value-free. Businessmen should read it for both a better understanding of their calling and the inspiration to make important contributions to the larger culture precisely through their business activity. Professors of economics and business may very well wish to make the book required reading. In fact, anyone who wonders about production, exchange and modern economic inequities will find in this book a highly intelligent treatment of how we got where we are, and what the way forward should be.

“Even in the United States, the sphere of prosperity is steadily shrinking, the gap between rich and poor is widening, and the purchasing power of most citizens is artificially sustained by borrowing heavily against the future. For these reasons alone, it is none too soon to read The Vocation of Business.”- Dr. Jess Mirus, Catholic Culture, August 7, 2007

(Sanford Lakoff)

“A highlyoriginal, intriguing and challenging book…This book is so rich and wide-rangingthat any brief synopsis easily dilutes its strengths. TheVocation of Business offers a feast to chew on.”--America

About the Author

Author is a graduate student and adjunct instructor in theology at the University of Dallas, where he teaches "Social Justice for Business Students," a requirement for the Business Leadership Degree. He is a businessman with 31 years of experience in management at large corporations and as an independent real estate agent. He served 5 terms as City Councilman, City of Irving, and served as mayor pro tem in 1991.. He is delivering papers at 3 conferences in the fall of 2006: The Sixth International Conference on Catholic Social Thought and Management Education, Rome, Oct.; Conference on Catholic Social Teaching and Human Work, Villanova Univ., Sept.; 2006 Pruitt Memorial Symposium and Lilly Fellows Program National Research Conference, Baylor Univ., Nov. He's published one article in "New Oxford Review," "Power to the People Must Mean Property to the People," January 2000, and the entry on "Distributivism" in "Catholic Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy: An Encyclopedia" (Scarecrow, forthcoming).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826428096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826428097
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Much of today's most worthwhile and thought-provoking writing comes from outside the conformity-producing confines of academia. John C. Medaille has an impressive command of the history of economic thought. In this book, he has distilled centuries of key debates between the purveyors of "value-free" economics, on the one hand, and the more humane and multidimensional tradition inspired by Catholic thought, on the other. On this very solid foundation, Medaille goes on to identify space for an alternative economic vision in our own time. He ranges widely over economic experiments that have tried, with some success, to create the conditions for fulfilling work, social justice, and a decent way of life.

I greatly enjoyed reading this work, which displays a rare mix of erudition, ethical commitment, and experience. I highly recommend it both to intellectuals of a critical bent, and to those in the business world who want to reflect on the values that do--and that values that should--shape our economic life. It has the potential to contribute to some important debates in years to come.
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Format: Paperback
The Vocation of Business is extremely lucid, informative and well organised, but in writing an utterly compelling introductory text for young business students its author has avoided over-facing his audience by making his case solely through practical examples. For more theoretically oriented minds that may leave it disappointingly understated. Having paved the way with the remark that social science has the ideological character of "self-fulfilling prophecy", it could so easily have concluded with a more challenging chapter drawing attention to research addressing deep theoretical problems. Is contemporary economic theory (which Business tends to take for granted) about a circulation system? a control system? an information system? Had economists asked these questions they might have noticed and learned from the well-established theories of circulation, control and information systems.

Its author, then, is confident enough that Business has not only made our world but also spoiled it by bad economics (and why should he not be confident, for young people world-wide are deserting Economics for the Business Schools). His theme - the need for both efficiency and justice, for both corrective and distributive justice - nevertheless implies a need for complex logic, dealing with both theory and practice; with both what works and how it can go wrong (leading to the practical question of what can be done about it); with both efficiency and reliability. What logic, mathematics and theory really are and how they work out in practice is not evident from even Medaille's most telling and appropriate examples.
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Format: Hardcover
The author has written an excellent book.He demonstrates that the removal of considerations of morality in economic decision making from the center stage, that it had occupied in theoretical views(as opposed to actual practice) of how an economy is supposed to operate so as to attain justice and peace, leads to a chaotic,dog eat dog form of Herbert Spencer's social-economic "survival of the fittest" misinterpretation of Darwin.Essentially,neoclassical economomics replaced the views of philosophers from Aristotle,Aquinas,the Scholastics,and Smith , from the fifth century,B.C. through the seventeenth century,A.D.,with the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham,David Ricardo,and James Mill.
The result has been that there is no longer any concern with how 3 billion humans currently live in various levels of poverty.
Unfortunately,the author,while familiar with the standard economist treatment of Keynes's GT ,is unaware that that treatment overlooks fundamental conclusions derived by Keynes in his technical analysis in chapters 20 and 21 of the GT.Keynes's policy analysis,in chapters 22,23,and 24,is also overlooked.

Keynes's analysis essentially represents a return to the major policy position advocated by both the Scholastics and Smith-provide tolerable security for society as a whole so as to minimize hoarding ,use usury laws to maintain low rates of interest permantently in the long run ,and prevent projectors,prodigals,and imprudent risk takers(Keynes's speculators and rentiers)from being able to obtain bank loans to extract wealth and profit without production by the mere manipulation of a firm's financial assets and balance sheet.
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A really well made and complete argument. It leaves behind the foolishness and equivocation of Neoclassical Economics for a better system.
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Excellent book. Beautifully addresses the key problems of modern economic thought from a religious point of view.
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