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Antonio Rosmini’s Social Ethics and his Relationship to German Thought

Abstract

Putting the economic and social–ethical thought of Rosmini in relationship to the German tradition of social market economy, either a pertinent collocation of the liberal catholic thinker Rosmini or new perspectives for the concept of social market economy, which is in search for a new identity, have been made. The justification of this paper lies in the fact that Rosmini introduced the idea of social justice right in the sense of social market economy, on the one hand, and in the way in which the late 19th-centrury economic theory in Italy received his economic thought, on the other hand. Hence, despite his theoretical and cultural distance from Röpke, both have many interesting economic reflections in common.

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Capitalism and Its New–Old Religion: a Civil Economy Perspective

Abstract

From the very beginning of civilization, economic reality and words have been intertwined with religions and vice versa. It would be enough to think at the phenomenon of sacrifice, that is, the first “language” that religions used to communicate with the divine. In the Western culture, a deep cross-fertilization between theology and oikonomia has occurred in both the Old and the New Testament. In addition, modern political and civil economy, namely the Northern and Southern European economic traditions, can be properly understood in relation to Christian religion in its Catholic and reformed humanisms. These two different spirits of capitalism have still important effects in today’s US and EU ways of understanding the nexsus between market and society. In this paper, the author explores some of the issues where these differences in spirit are more relevant (i.e., gratuitousness and meritocracy) and then concludes with some hints about the nature of a different “spirit” of capitalism, that is coming from the Catholicism.

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Catholic Social Teaching as a Pillar of Social Market Economy

Abstract

This paper presents different historical and systematical approaches to point out the relationship between Catholic social teaching and social market economy. A fundamental connection between Catholic social teaching, ordoliberalism, and the market order is given in more detail. It becomes clear that not every form of capitalism is suitable for Catholic social teaching. However, the so-called “Rhenish capitalism”, i.e., social market economy, is the form of market economy that best coincides with the criteria of Catholic social teaching. This paper examines the anthropological and ethical foudations of the economic order in a detailed manner, especially of the economic order, especially the fundamental value of freedom as well as the notion of social justice by taking into account the importance of an ethos and an institutional framework. The idea of social market economy has to face current challenges and future perspectives which prove that – from an ethical point of view – the center of this discussion is the question of ineluctable standards of humanity and justice.

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A Certain Seminal Character of Profit which We Commonly Call “Capital”: Peter of John Olivi and the Tractatus de contractibus

Abstract

Tractatus de contractibus shows that there are mainly three fundamental economic views that characterize the originality and the acuteness of Olivi’s thought: a subject-based theory of value, a theory of just price, and the theoretical–systematic use of the concept of capital. Olivi’s distinction between simply sterile money and fertile, lucrative money – called capitale (capital) – is central. His – at that time – revolutionary thought challenges the theory of money as a mere means of exchange; he acknowledged the legitimacy of trade and the added value (valor superadiunctus) of capital. Thus, he allowed a price as compensation or as remuneration for the owner’s foregone use of the capital. This is not a mere scholastic subtlety, but it is a serious attempt to grasp different phenomena with different concepts.

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Civil Economy in the Social Market Economy: a Theoretical Perspective

Abstract

What do we mean by “civil” and “civil society”? This paper attempts to describe a complex notion of “civil economy” in Sturzo’s theoretical perspective of the social market economy. According to this political theory, “civil” is not opposed to “market,” which is not opposed to “the political” (the state). Rather, instead of being the transmission belt between the state and market, civil is the galaxy in which we find also the market and the state (but not only), each with its own functions. This tradition – rooted in Christianity – was able to oppose both Nazi and communist totalitarianism, while many Catholics made an impossible attempt to exhume corporatism.

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Federalism in Germany, Italy, and the European Union: History, Characteristics, and Perspectives

Abstract

Federalism is always torn between the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. Defining the federal structure of a country by finding the welfare-maximizing amount and design of government layers is challenging. Thereby, the financial endowment of different layers of government which they need to fulfill their respective tasks is an important aspect. European countries have chosen quite different federal designs to address the question of an optimal degree of fiscal decentralization. The aim of this paper is to analyze these different approaches for Germany, Italy, and the European Union. Parallels can be found in that all the three entities share a form of institutional asymmetry, a kind of fiscal bailout system, and a sort of fiscal equalization scheme.

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Introduction
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Luigi Sturzo and Civil Economy

Abstract

The paper defends the thesis that a proper understanding of Sturzo’s thought and work can be achieved only within the perspective of the civil economy paradigm. After exposing the main pillars characterizing the civil economy research program, the argument proceeds indicating the reasons why Sturzo did not consider adequate, for a country like Italy, the proposal of the social market economy. The paper concludes suggesting same reasons to explain the fin de non recevoir of the political establishment with respect to Sturzo’s testimony.

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The Mittelstand: a Specific Entrepreneurial Profile of the Social Market Economy

Abstract

Mittelstand companies are the backbone of the German economy: they constitute the vast majority of enterprises in Germany, contribute to employment, and are a pillar of the German apprenticeship system. The specific ownership–management structure of the Mittelstand used to go hand in hand with social, intergenerational, and regional responsibility. However, today’s very small and young entrepreneurs do not perceive themselves as Mittelstand; many entrepreneurs do not intend to employ others, and structural changes in the economy have also resulted in fundamental changes of the Mittelstand. This paper explores the characteristics of the Mittelstand and its future, asking whether Mittelstand will continue to play a fundamental role in the social market economy in Germany.

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The Monti di Pietà in the Middle Ages from a Privileged Point of View: the Marches

Abstract

Studies concerning the Monti di Pietà have quite a long tradition; in the past decades, however, this institution has been studied from new perspectives. After arguing in favor of the Marches (central Italy) as a privileged view angle on the phenomenon, the paper touches upon some complex relationships existing between political authorities and Observant Franciscan preachers, who campaigned in favor of the Monti on explicit invitation of local authorities. The question of the actual functioning of the Monti is also connected with the mechanisms of social inclusion and exclusion; the role of Jewish moneylenders, who were the major targets of Observant preaching in favor of the Monti, is also a key issue for the understanding of the institution.

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