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Empirical Foundations of the Common GoodWhat Theology Can Learn from Social Science$
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Daniel K. Finn

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190670054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190670054.001.0001

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Contributions of Economic Theory to an Understanding of the Common Good in Catholic Social Thought

Contributions of Economic Theory to an Understanding of the Common Good in Catholic Social Thought

Chapter:
(p.114) chapter 5 Contributions of Economic Theory to an Understanding of the Common Good in Catholic Social Thought
Source:
Empirical Foundations of the Common Good
Author(s):

Charles K. Wilber

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190670054.003.0006

Economic analysis can be useful to Catholic social thought in its concern for the common good, or the rough economic equivalent, human flourishing. First, treating the standard economic concept of externalities as ubiquitous can result in policies that promote human flourishing. Second, much scholarly work in economics recognizes that under conditions of interdependence and imperfect information, rational self-interest frequently will lead to socially irrational results unless that self-interest is somehow constrained. Two specific changes can better promote the common good: investing in the prospective role of worker-shared ownership and replacing gross domestic product with an accounting system that more accurately measures the well-being of society. These reflections lead to an answer to the question, What is the common good?

Keywords:   common good, economics, externality, self-interest, imperfect information, gross domestic product, worker ownership

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