Oeconomia Suffocato: The Origins of Antipathy Toward Free Enterprise Among Catholic Intelligentsia

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Abstract

What is the source of the antipathy of Catholic intellectuals toward free markets? That is the issue addressed in the present paper. We see the antecedents of this viewpoint of theirs in terms of secular humanism, Marxism and mistaken views of morality and economics. One of the explanations for this phenomenon are the teachings of St Augustine. He greatly distrusted the City of Man, seeing it as anarchic and chaotic. In contrast, his City of God is more orderly, but far removed from the hurly burly of free enterprise. Another source of the rejection of capitalism on the part of Catholic intellectuals is liberation theology, which is Marxism minus the atheism of that doctrine. Both economic and cultural Marxism have played a role in the alienation of such intellectuals from the tenets of laissez faire capitalism. Are there any counter currents? Yes, the School of Salamanca, which has been all but forgotten in this community.

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