Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catholics and the work ethic

Michael Novak has died. The economist who wrote the book defending capitalism and inspired Pope John Paul II to write an encyclical defending capitalism.

The backstory of this is that the professional do gooder/leftists who infiltrate the middle management of the Catholic church in Europe and in the US tend to be socialists, and some encyclicals hint that this way will reform the world. This was a normal reaction to a church who before modern times in Europe was run by the younger sons of nobility, who looked down on getting one's hands dirty in business.

But Novak's book  Business as a calling points out that a virtuous businessman no only uses his god given talents, but enriches those around him by giving them work. This philosophy would be well known to Protestants thanks to Calvin, and to the LDS businessmen or even to those with Confucian background, but for Catholics it was now made official. Of course, the present pope probably disagrees, but he is stuck in the past with liberation theology nonsense, i.e. the economics of Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

 I have the book with me. This is from the Amazon blurb:

Why do we work so hard at our jobs, day after day? Why is a job well done important to us? We know there is more to a career than money and prestige, but what exactly do we mean by "fulfillment"?
These are old but important questions. They belong with some newly discovered ones: Why are people in business more religious than the population as a whole? What do people of business know, and what do they do, that anchors their faith?...
...Work should be more than just a job -- it should be a calling...
Business is a profession worthy of a person's highest ideals and aspirations, fraught with moral possibilities both of great good and of great evil. Novak takes on agonizing problems, such as downsizing, the tradeoffs that must sometimes be faced between profits and human rights, and the pitfalls of philanthropy. He also examines the daily questions of how an honest day's work contributes to the good of many people, both close at hand and far away.
our work connects us with one another. It also makes possible the universal advance out of poverty, and it is an essential prerequisite of democracy and the institutions of civil society. This book is a spiritual feast, for everyone who wants to examine how to make a life through making a living.

FirstThings points out to this essay of his to read: I book mark it for later reading.

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