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Is the Market Moral?: A Dialogue on Religion, Economics, and Justice (The Pew Forum Dialogues on Religion and Public Life) [Paperback]

By Rebecca M. Blank (Author)
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Item description for Is the Market Moral?: A Dialogue on Religion, Economics, and Justice (The Pew Forum Dialogues on Religion and Public Life) by Rebecca M. Blank...

In the great tradition of moral argument about the nature of the economic market, Rebecca Blank and William McGurn join to debate the fundamental questionsequality and efficiency, productivity and social justice, individual achievement and personal rights in the workplace, and the costs and benefits of corporate and entrepreneurial capitalism. Their arguments are grounded in both economic sophistication and religious commitment. Rebecca Blank is an economist by training and describes herself as culturally Protestant in the habits of mind and heart. She has also chaired the committee that wrote the statement on Christian faith and economic life adopted by the United Church of Christ. Addressing market failure, for her, requires that sometimes " freedom to choose" give way to other human values. William McGurn, a journalist and a Roman Catholic, uses his expertise in economics to reflect on the teachings of the church concerning the morality of the market. For McGurn, humans reach their fullest potential when they are free from the constraints of others. He writes that " our quarrel is not so much with Adam Smith or Milton Friedman but with the Providence that so clearly designed man to be his most prosperous at his most free." This book grapples with the new imperatives of a global economy while working in the classic tradition of political economy which always treated seriously the questions of morality, justice, productivity, and freedom.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brookings Institution Press
Pages   151
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.86" Width: 5.96" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.57 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Brookings Institution Press
ISBN  0815710216  
ISBN13  9780815710219  

Availability  145 units.
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More About Rebecca M. Blank

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Rebecca M. Blank is dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She was senior staff economist with the Council of Economic Advisers during the first Bush administration and was appointed to the council under President Clinton. William McGurn is chief editorial writer and a member of the editorial board of "The Wall Street Journal." He has also held key positions for "National Review and Far Eastern Economic Review."

Rebecca M. Blank has an academic affiliation as follows - The Brookings Institution.

Rebecca M. Blank has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Pew Forum Dialogues on Religion & Public Life

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Biographies & Primers > Policy & Current Events
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Free Enterprise
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General
4Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Theory
5Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Business

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Reviews - What do customers think about Is the Market Moral?: A Dialogue on Religion, Economics, and Justice (The Pew Forum Dialogues on Religion and Public Life)?

A Great Dialogue  Sep 27, 2004
Is the Market Moral? by Rebecca Blank and William McGurn is the second volume in the Pew Forum Dialogues on Religion & Public Life, a series of printed debates being published by the Brookings Institute. This debate reminded me why I enjoy reading economics as much as I do. The authors are both well-trained economists whose views fall well within the mainstream of the field, yet in this text they turn to a topic that receives little attention in the academic press, the interplay between religion and economic life. The format is a written debate, each author writes a paper, then each is given a chance to respond to the other's paper, then they each write a conclusion.

Blank begins the debate, her paper focuses on the role of government in correcting or eliminating markets which do not promote the Christian virtue of brotherly love or respect and caring for one's neighbors. She does not believe that government is all powerful, or that it should try to control markets completely, as she does recognize the tremendous power and huge benefits of a market economy, but she does believe that the way in which religion is most effectively applied to the market is through participation in the democratic process.

McGurn, on the other hand, sees the forces of the market as far too powerful to be controlled or dictated by legislation. Instead he believes that the way to make the market economy more Christian is through the "virtues-self-restraint, honesty, courage, diligence, the willingness to defer gratification-that it cannot itself create", through culture itself. In his words he "would say that Rebecca would probably consider it naïve to think of culture as strong enough to counter powerful market forces while I deem it even more naïve to expect government, which enjoys a monopoly of force, to do it properly."

My views on the matter fall far closer to those of William McGurn than they do to those of Rebecca Blank. I am deeply skeptical of the ability of government to do anything correctly if there is even the slightest controversy over the correct goal, and even when the goal is unanimous I still have grave doubts about the ability of government to fulfill the desires of the people without incurring massive unforeseen consequences. I am also much more inclined to believe McGurn and the emphasis he places on religion as the central force in determining the moral fabric of a society.

While I may not always agree with the views of the various religions at work in society, I do believe that they provide the bedrock on which the moral of society rely to keep a steady foundation. However, without informed and rational discussions like this one we cannot necessarily expect any progress in the way that religion approaches economics, and vice versa. The book is not particularly expensive, and a quick read, I highly recommend this book for anyone with any interest in the interplay of markets and culture or markets and religion.
With an ever-growing sense of direct contemporary relevance  Jul 14, 2004
The collaboration of Rebecca M. Blank (Dean of the Gerald R.FordSchool of Public Policy and Professor of Economics, University of Michigan) and William McGurn (Chief Editorial Writer, Wall Street Journal), Is The Market Moral?: A Dialogue On Religion, Economics & Justice is a literate discussion of serious issues of economic equality, efficiency, productivity, and social justice. The contrasting views of two strong-willed, intelligent, faithful, and astutely reasoned individuals - one a "cultural Protestant", the other a Roman Catholic, both concerned with issues of morality and human feedom to choose as surely as technical problems of supply and demand. Add in drastic changes wrought by increased globalization in today's world, and the evaluations followed by direct and personally addressed rebuttals in Is The Market Moral? take on an ever-growing sense of direct contemporary relevance, even urgency.

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