Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Rediscovering Political Economy

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Rediscovering Political Economy

Article excerpt

Rediscovering Political Economy EDITED BY JOSEPH POSTELL AND BRADLEY CS. WATSON ROWMAN, 2.72 PAGES, $32-95

Politicians and pundits alike go wrong when they attribute our current woes to an economic crisis. Whether it's the fiscal problems posed by entitlements or the fallout from the Great Recession, what our country faces right now is a crisis in political economy. Politics, as Richard John Neuhaus would remind us, is about how we ought to order our lives together - necessarily a moral proposition. It is thus fitting that the ten essays collected in Rediscovering Political Economy helpfully highlight the moral and political values at stake in what are frequently referred to as "economic" debates.

Most essays are from a libertarian or conservative outlook, some with a West Coast Straussian flavor. Readers of First Things might particularly enjoy Fr. Robert Sirico's moral arguments for economic liberty and John Mueller's précis of his recent book, Redeeming Economics, on how a Neoscholastic approach to economics most accurately captures all the important aspects of economic action.

Thomas West argues that the founders almost all agreed on three main points: "the legal right to own and use property in land and other goods; the right to sell or give property to others, or acquire it, on mutually agreeable terms (market freedom); and government support of sound money. …

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