Volume 14, 2009
A Challenge From Thomas Storck
It is often claimed that there is a conflict between the ethical mandates of Catholic social teaching and the findings of economic science. However, the kind of economic analysis such critics adhere to is either the mainstream neoclassical (including the Chicago School) or the Austrian School, whose modes of economic analysis differ from that employed by the popes. Using examples from encyclicals, this article shows that the Supreme Pontiffs gave a more prominent place in their economic thinking to economic power and to institutions such as legal or cultural norms than to market forces. Instances are then given in which economic power is shown to have affected economic outcomes, and alternative schools are proposed as offering a type of economic analysis closer to that used by the popes.