Who is this ‘we’?

At the outset of his The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society , Brad S. Gregory takes aim at Charles Taylor’s overly simplified portrait of the shift from the medieval “naive acknowledgment of the transcendent” to the “exclusive . . . . Continue Reading »

Virtue and rewards

It has long been said that virtue is its own reward. This notion is particularly set against any “instrumentalization” of virtue, any notion that virtue is a means to achieve some other end. We are good because it is good to be good, not because being good is rewarded with some other . . . . Continue Reading »

New Frontiers

In their contribution to American Space/American Place: Geographies of the Contemporary United States , John Agnew and Joanne Sharp describe the context and import of Frederick Jackson Turner’s famed “Frontier Thesis.” Turner wrote in the context of the downturn of the 1890s, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Papal economics

Michael Miller’s essay in Christian Theology and Market Economics focuses on “Business as a moral enterprise.” In part, he offers a summary of John Paul II’s teaching on economics and business, especially as expressed in the encyclical Centessimus Annus . As one might . . . . Continue Reading »

Productive Money

In his contribution to Christian Theology and Market Economics , Stephen Grabill reviews the “pre-Enlightenment” history of economic theory. That is to say, scholastic economics. For many economic historians, the notion of a scholastic economic theory is fallacious, and Exhibit #1 is . . . . Continue Reading »

Perpetual anxiety

Work is worrisome. Time was, though, when you could leave the worries at the office. Not any more, Bauman says ( Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age , 76): “Most of us take those worries with us, in our laptops and mobile phones, wherever we go - to our homes, for weekend . . . . Continue Reading »

Great Transformation, 2.0?

We are in the middle of a second “great transformation,” suggests Zygmunt Bauman in Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age (46-7). Industrialization has given way to an “experience economy.” Bauman points to a shift in the metaphors and vocabulary of . . . . Continue Reading »

Marketization of politics

William Cavanaugh’s presentation at the Wheaton Theology Conference was, as one would expect, challenging and provocative. He asked questions about corporate persons in contemporary law, tracing the background of the idea in the Bible and in medieval thought, but focusing attention on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Adolescent business

Keeping people wandering in extended adolescence is good for business, says Thomas Bergler in The Juvenilization of American Christianity (6-7): “People who know who they are, who think carefully about purchases, and who exercise self-control are harder to persuade to buy products they . . . . Continue Reading »