Just Contracts and Catholic Social Teaching

Vincent D. Rougeau

in The True Wealth of Nations

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199739813
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866120 | DOI:
Just Contracts and Catholic Social Teaching

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This chapter presents a brief legal history of contract law in the United States and identifies multiple ways in which it includes a bias toward market decisions and often excludes fundamental concerns of justice. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 1 describes the three major understandings of justice in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Section 2 relates those areas to a particular aspect of Anglo-American contract law and policy. Section 3 evaluates how the law addresses justice concerns and assesses its strengths and limitations in light of Catholic conceptions of justice. Finally, Section 4 offers some suggestions about the future direction of contract law and its potential for being a force for economic justice in society.

Keywords: Catholic social thought; justice; contract law; economic justice; legal history

Chapter.  10860 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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