Business Ethics and Catholic Social Thought

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256 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647120733 (164712073X)

256 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647120740 (1647120748)

ISBN: 9781647120757

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May 2021


Table of Contents

Business Ethics and Catholic Social Thought
Daniel K. Finn, Editor

A comprehensive overview of the contribution of Catholic social thought to business ethics

Can a religion founded on loving one's neighbor give moral approval to profit-seeking business firms in a global economy? What should characterize the relationship between faith and economic life? What can businesses, employees, and executives do to contribute to the common good and to make their practices and society more ethical?

Business Ethics and Catholic Social Thought provides a new and wide-ranging account of these two ostensibly divergent fields. Focusing on the agency of the business person and the interests of firms, this volume outlines fundamental issues confronting moral leaders and corporations committed to responsible business practices.

The book leads with interviews of three Catholic CEOs and the intellectual history of business ethics in Christianity before examining fundamental moral concerns regarding business: its purpose, autonomy, practical wisdom, and the technocratic paradigm. Contributing authors also consider management science, the motivations of business leaders, the role of luck in personal success, the traditional moral justifications for business, and more. These contributions bring new depth to the application of Catholic social thought to business ethics during a time when economic crisis demands a reevaluation of business and its contribution to society.

Daniel K. Finn is the William E. and Virginia Clemens Professor of Economics and the Liberal Arts in the Department of Economics and professor of theology, both at St. John's University and the College of Saint Benedict. His books include Consumer Ethics in a Global Economy: How Buying Here Causes Injustice There (Georgetown University Press, 2019), Empirical Foundations of the Common Good: What Theology Can Learn from Social Science, and Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Economic Complicity and Christian Ethics.

"To its great credit, this unique volume maintains a laser-like focus on the enduring tensions between Catholic social thought and standard business practices. The interviews with three Catholic business leaders and further enlightening essays help the reader navigate the treacherous waters that all too often divide profit-making firms from faith-based moral analysis. If you seek a bridge to link the two, start with this highly insightful book."—Thomas Massaro, SJ, professor of moral theology, Fordham University

"One would be hard-pressed to bring together a better group of scholars to consider a Catholic view on business. The breadth of the essays' topics-from historical to practical, philosophical, economic, and legal-and the depth of essays here serve as rich resources to anyone considering how business can contribute to the common good."—Andrew B. Gustafson , professor of business ethics and society, Creighton University

Table of Contents
Introduction , Daniel K. Finn

Part I: Preliminary Evidence

1. CEO Perspectives on Morality and Business, Regina Wentzel Wolfe

2. Commerce and Communion in the History of Christian Thought, Jennifer A. Herdt

Part II: The Internal Dynamics of Business

3. Practical Wisdom and Management Science, Andrew M. Yuengert

4. What Are Agency and Autonomy, and What Difference Do They Make for Business?, Gregory R. Beabout

5. What Is the Technocratic Paradigm, and Must Business Be Structured by It?, Mary Hirschfeld

Part III: The Wider Responsibilities of Business

6. The Institutional Insight Underlying Shareholder/Stakeholder Approaches to Business Ethics, Kenneth E. Goodpaster and Michael J. Naughton

7. How Consumers and Firms Can Seek Good Goods, David Cloutier

8. Are Businesses Responsible for the Moral Ecology in Which They Operate?, Martin Schlag

9. The Social Mortgage on Business, Edward D. Kleinbard

10. When Are Market Decisions Morally Legitimate?,K.J. Martijn Cremers

Afterword, James L. Heft




Gregory R. Beabout, David Cloutier, K.J. Martijn Cremers, Daniel K. Finn, Kenneth E. Goodpaster, Rev. James L. Heft, SM (Marianist), Jennifer A. Herdt, Mary Hirschfeld, Edward D. Kleinbard, Michael J. Naughton, Msgr. Martin Schlag, JD, STD, Regina Wentzel Wolfe, Andrew M. Yuengert