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Capitalism and Natural Law:
Life, Liberty, and Private Property
 
by
Robert N. McGrath, Ph.D. 
 
Christian Faith Publishers,
Copyright 2017 
 
 
released late 2017 
 Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble 
 
 
 JohnLocke.jpg
John Locke portrait courtesy: Google 
  
from the 
Forward
 
 
 
Christianity and Capitalism both seem to be going through a bit of a rough patch at the time of writing.  On the one hand, we in the United States watched in amazement how an avowed Socialist made a serious run at the Presidency.  At least temporarily, and at the very least, he inspired a movement among the young.  On the other hand, the Freedom From Religion movement was busy pestering all kinds of Christians all over the United States -- no matter how Constitutional, subtle, or innocent their expressions of faith.
 

 
In the general sweep of history, these dual countermovements may seem a little surprising, since both sets of targeted beliefs and practises go back to about the same time, that being the ancient Greeks and their most famous philosophers.  In other words, both the economic sense of Capitalism and the basic theology of Christianity have been part and parcel of the culture of Western civilization since its early days.  It is a major objective of this book to simply raise the historical awareness of how both Capitalist economics and Christian theology have co-evolved since the days of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle -- hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ, and thousands of years before "modern" economics was recognized.
 
 
It must be stressed that this is not a religious book per se ; but it is rife with passages from and commentary about theology, philosophy, and metaphysics.  A few basic assumptions have been made just to keep the book simple, such as: personal liberty is "a good" and a natural right; capitalism may not be perfect, but it is the best system in history for creating wealth and prosperity that provide the opportunity to pursue one's spiritual happiness and well-being; and that living a life of personal virtue as opposed to vice is the practical and measurable approach to doing this.
 
 
Past that, the book is intended to be informative and provocative -- not conclusive and in fact, not even especially authoritative.  The author is not a credentialized economist or theologian, but has had an abiding literary interest in these subjects for about twenty-five years.  Technically, he is a retired business professor.  So rather than argue ham-handedly, a great deal of information is presented by use of extended quotes from some of the most profound theologians, philosophers and economists (Aristotle and Aquinas, Smith and Mill); and we will even make a startling contrast by examining Karl Marx.  Conversely, virtually no biblical scripture is used, but the theme of Thomist moral theology is unmistakable.  So the reader is not only welcome to, but implored to, read the book critically but with an open mind...
 
Along the way, we'll even correct a few economic and historical misconceptions.  The reader should be highly surprised at some things!  The story that emerges is anything but neat and linear, and most readers will feel a strong sense of ambivalence at the end.  But that is a good thing.  No history this complex could possibly tell a simple story with a simple conclusion.  A little book so short and simple could not do that, and it could only provoke more questions than it answers.  So just sit back and relax, and be prepared to become informed.  Then do some more reading for yourself, and make your own interpretations.
 
 


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