This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Morality and economic theory

The Church insists that there are always moral connotations to economic activity.[1] In the words of Benedict XVI, quoted already in an earlier section but worth repeating here: “Every economic decision has a moral consequence.”[2] To say this another way, economics cannot, like the physical sciences, be conceived as governed by a system of impersonal laws on which moral judgment has nothing to declare. This is why, until quite recently, the field was called “Political Economy,” and never simply “Economics.” Moreover, the moral aspect of the market includes not only the typical activities of buying and selling, but extends also to investments and the use of financial instruments which are becoming ever more abstract and complex.[3] Because justice is central to economic activity, we must not forget to consider justice in every phase of that process.[4]

To summarize, we refer to Quadragesimo Anno:

“Even though economics and moral science employs each its own principles in its own sphere, it is, nevertheless, an error to say that the economic and moral orders are so distinct from and alien to each other that the former depends in no way on the latter. Certainly the laws of economics, as they are termed, being based on the very nature of material things and on the capacities of the human body and mind, determine the limits of what productive human effort cannot, and of what it can attain in the economic field and by what means. Yet it is reason itself that clearly shows, on the basis of the individual and social nature of things and of men, the purpose which God ordained for all economic life. But it is only the moral law which, just as it commands us to seek our supreme and last end in the whole scheme of our activity, so likewise commands us to seek directly in each kind of activity those purposes which we know that nature, or rather God the Author of nature, established for that kind of action, and in orderly relationship to subordinate such immediate purposes to our supreme and last end.”[5]

[1] CSDC, 330-335.

[2] CV, 37.

[3] CV, 40; CA, 36.

[4] See section III, 7a-d.

[5] QA, 42-43.

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