School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications


Justice in Markets: What Is Required?

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2014


Arts and Humanities | Catholic Studies | Economics | Ethics in Religion | Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This talk today does not aim to tell you what you, or we as a nation, should do about concrete economic and moral problems. Rather what I’m hoping to do today is to provide you with two things that will help you in thinking about your own convictions regarding such problems. The first of those two things is a framework for thinking about justice and injustice in markets. I will outline four elements that are part of the analysis of the justice of markets of nearly everyone who is speaking on the issue, from the libertarian right to the Marxist left. This phase of the paper provides a framework, a set of questions, that you like everyone else would need to answer in deciding on your own view of economic justice. To answer those questions you will need to reflect on the values that you hold, and that brings me to the second thing I plan to do. Everyone, from left to right on the political spectrum, has to turn to their most fundamentally held perspectives and values in answering these questions and since this is a Catholic institution of higher education, I will propose a few of the fundamental commitments and values from the history of Christian views of economic life that you may find helpful in answering those very questions.