Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?

By Hearne, Sam | Review - Institute of Public Affairs, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?


Hearne, Sam, Review - Institute of Public Affairs


Are Christianity and capitalism compatible?

Of course, writes Sam Hearne.

Entrepreneurship in the Catholic tradition By Father Anthony Percy Connor Court Publishing, 191 pages, 2011

Can a good Christian be an entrepreneur? Christians have long debated what constitutes a moral economy and what is the role of the state and the individual. There have been many lay participants in this debate including Dorothy Day, Bob Santamaria to Robert Novak, and Sam Gregg. This book is a particularly good fit for Australian Catholics, because historically Australian Catholics were mostly from the working industrial class and therefore mostly affiliated with the labour movement and also the Labor Party (at least until the split in the 1950s.)

However since the 1970s Australian Catholics have fast become a part of the affluent middle and upper class and were a large part of the Labor voters who switched their votes in the 1990s, a large part of former prime minister John Howards 'battlers'.

This book argues succinctly that the long tradition of Christian entrepreneurship fits well with the changing social order of Australian Catholics. It is therefore a great book for young Christians entering the world of business, and students of theology looking for a moral understanding of the economic realm. As Father Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute says of Percy's book Tt undermines stereotypes of Catholic thought about free enterprise and business', striking at the heart of the problem many Christians who support free enterprise in Australia confront from many aspects of the popular culture.

Entrepreneurship in the Catholic tradition includes studies of biblical texts, theory on business and entrepreneurship, the early church fathers, great Catholic thinkers, with particular emphasis on the thoughts of Pope Leo XIII through to Pope John Paul II. The book is well researched, drawing from a wide variety of sources. His writing is superb in taking language that might seem difficult to a modern reader and translating it into accessible modern language. It also serves as wonderful reference text, providing snippets of the thought of various intellectuals throughout Christian history, with considerable referencing at the end of each chapter. If you find something that particularly interests you, Percy offers a window into a wider world of study and ideas. …

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