This is a textbook on the Social Teaching of the Roman Catholic Church for would-be business professionals. Part I does 3 things: provides a history of moral discourse since the Enlightenment, a history of economic thought from Aristotle and Aquinas to Ludwig Mises and Milton Friedman, and a history of property. Part II provides a close reading of 3 major social encyclicals. Part III examines the tensions between Catholic social teaching and neoclassical economics. Part IV explores 5 case studies of the actual implementation of Catholic-like social teaching. The over-riding theme of the book is that the original unity of distributive and corrective justice that prevailed in both economics and moral discourse until the 16th and 17th centuries was shattered by the rise of an "individualistic" capitalism that relied on corrective justice (justice in exchange) only. The rise of individualistic business practice was paralleled by a movement in moral thinking from a discourse of virtue and the common good to a discourse of utilitarianism and "emotivism"; individual preference became all that mattered, and only the market is capable of correlating individual preferences.
An economics that lacks a distributive principle will attain neither equity nor equilibrium and will be inherently unstable and increasingly reliant on government power (Keynesianism) to correct the balances. Catholic social teaching emphasizes equity in the distribution of land, the means of production, and a just wage.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 374
Weight: 560 g
"... 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
"A highly original, intriguing and challenging book...This book is so rich and wide-ranging that any brief synopsis easily dilutes its strengths. The Vocation of Business offers a feast to chew on."--America