Christians and Economics

Harlan Beckley

in The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780199227228
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Christians and Economics

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Economic theory and practice often seek — either explicitly or implicitly — to maximize the common good conceived as the aggregate satisfaction of individual preferences. Christian ethics, of course, considers the common good, but always in its relationship to individual human dignity, not merely in relation to individual preferences. The commonplace assumption that Christian views of human dignity and economists' efforts to maximize the common good are incompatible should not surprise us. This article challenges that assumption and argues that the increasingly authoritative use of cost-benefit analysis for evaluating public policies and practices can maximize respect for the equal dignity of persons.

Keywords: Christian ethics; economic theory; cost-benefit analysis; human dignity; common good; public policy

Article.  8634 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Philosophy of Religion

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