Front Page Titles (by Subject) Democratic Capitalism, Justice, & Religion - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
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Democratic Capitalism, Justice, & Religion - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Democratic Capitalism, Justice, & Religion
“Productivity and Social Justice” in Will Capitalism Survive? ed. Ernest W. Lefever. Ethics and Public Policy Center: Georgetown University, Washington D.C. 1979.
Novak attacks the conventional theological condemnation of democratic capitalism. Such criticism usually exaggerates the evils of capitalism, blames it for imaginary faults, and refrains from offering us a superior social system. In this anti-capitalism, modern theologians are unfortunately following a long tradition. Contrary to Weber, Calvinist theologians always resisted capitalism; furthermore, Bonhoffer, Barth, Tillich, and the early Niebuhr were socialists.
Theologians are thus quite traditional in their nonmarket economics. First, their view of social justice contrasts modern alienation to a mythical simple community of togetherness where no one uses anyone as a means. Second, their view of social justice centers on distribution, thus ignoring Adam Smith's economic revolution which demonstrated that new wealth could be created and thus pointed to an ethic of productivity.
Theologians need to learn economics, need to make some empirical comparisons with socialism, and also need to devise a new theological account to match economic reality. Democratic capitalism consists of an economic market, a democratic polity, and a pluralistic culture. A theological analysis of it would go as follows. The aim of this social system is to improve the well-being of all mankind by creating wealth and thus liberating people by giving them more leisure, mobility, and opportunity. Second, the democratic capitalist system is highly fraternal since it requires associations and cooperation. Third, this system depends on a sense of sin, for in order to bend human nature successfully to produce social benefits, an awareness of the weakness of human nature is necessary.