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Market Complicity and Christian Ethics


Part of New Studies in Christian Ethics

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107649378

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About the Authors
  • The marketplace is a remarkable social institution that has greatly extended our reach so shoppers in the West can now buy fresh-cut flowers, vegetables, and tropical fruits grown halfway across the globe even in the depths of winter. However, these expanded choices have also come with considerable moral responsibilities as our economic decisions can have far-reaching effects by either ennobling or debasing human lives. In this book, Albino Barrera examines our own moral responsibilities for the distant harms of our market transactions from a Christian viewpoint, identifying how the market's division of labour makes us unwitting collaborators in others' wrongdoing and in collective ills. His important account covers a range of different subjects, including law, economics, philosophy, and theology, in order to identify the injurious ripple effects of our market activities.

    • Explores and identifies what Christian ethics can offer on the problem of economic complicity
    • Distinguishes the different factors regarding what is permissible and what is blameworthy in material cooperation by articulating theological and philosophical grounds of discussion
    • Uses a multidisciplinary approach, a framework for analysis including economics, philosophy, theology and law
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Barrera writes clearly with lucid prose and a transparent step-by-step approach … The book's key value is in two areas: its methodology, and the range of disciplines applied … [It] is a marvel of scholastic reasoning, and is thorough in the breadth of disciplines that are applied to establish responsibility for the scenarios examined.' Church Times

    '… an important book on an important subject … Barrera covers new ground in moral theology and provides a framework for a rigorous examination of the ethics of an important and underexplored aspect of market economics … a significant and groundbreaking study …' Journal of Theological Studies

    '… an excellent framework for evaluating the moral culpability of those who engage in voluntary transactions in the marketplace … [Barrera's] work is thought-provoking …' Review of Social Economy

    '… an important contribution to the continuing discussion on Christian ethics within the global market … of value to anyone who is interested in the morality of the global market.' Religion

    'Barrer traces the distinct ways in which moral philosophy, Christian ethics, and economic theory identify economic harms - an interdisciplinary approach he uses well and often to exploit the deepest insights into his subject.' The Journal of Religion

    'This book is a very welcome contribution to a highly interesting subject: anyone interested in Christian economic ethics or in economic ethics in general will find the book very illuminating and stimulating.' ARR Book Review

    '… a thorough treatment of the topic.' Heythorp Journal

    'Of particular interest is Barrera's summary of what is distinctive about Christian ethics. … he develops a compelling account of the essential role of community in moral formation … and the effect this should have on our economic choices.' Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

    '… a thoughtfully argued proposal for an approach to material cooperation that is more detailed and precise … Put simply, Barrera works with the moral tradition he has inherited but enriches it by his employment of parallel insights from other disciplines. … Barrera has provided us with a valuable book … it is a very fine achievement.' The Thomist

    'Barrera sets himself a tough intellectual challenge. … It is a very impressive book. … The interweaving of a philosophy of causation, the law of tort and P.D.E. [principle of double effect] in Thomism illuminates current economic events in a magisterial way.'Ecclesiology Ecclesiology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107649378
    • length: 326 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Theory: Material Cooperation in Economic Life:
    1. The nature of material cooperation and moral complicity
    2. Complicity in what? The problem of accumulative harms
    3. Too small and morally insignificant? The problem of overdetermination
    4. Who is morally responsible in the chain of causation? The problem of interdependence
    Part II. Application: A Typology of Market-Mediated Complicity: A. Hard Complicity:
    5. Benefiting from and enabling wrongdoing
    6. Precipitating gratuitous harms
    B. Soft Complicity:
    7. Leaving severe pecuniary externalities unattended
    8. Reinforcing injurious socioeconomic structures
    Part III. Synthesis and Conclusions:
    9. Toward a theology of economic responsibility
    10. Synthesis: Christian ethics and blameworthy material cooperation

  • Author

    Albino Barrera, Providence College, Rhode Island
    Albino Barrera is Professor of Economics and Theology at Providence College in Rhode Island. His previous publications include Globalisation and Economic Ethics (2007), Economic Compulsion and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2005), God and the Evil of Scarcity (2005) and Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy (2001).

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