Individual Freedom and the Market from the Standpoint of Liberalism and Christian Social Doctrine Cover Image

Individual Freedom and the Market from the Standpoint of Liberalism and Christian Social Doctrine

Author(s): Valdas Pruskus
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Visuomeninė organizacija »LOGOS«
Keywords: liberalism; libertarianism; free market; Christianity; Christian social teaching

Summary/Abstract: In the article it is shown that both liberalism and Christian social doctrine recognise that the market and its mechanisms enable an individual and a society to satisfy their needs in the best way. However, they assess the ethical limits of the market and its expression in different ways. From the standpoint of liberalism, the modern market does not assist an individual to satisfy his/her needs, but also develops him/her as a customer by offering new goods and services. So, the market becomes not only a producer of values which are necessary to an individual but it also determines the benefit and prestige of the values. Values without the "blessing" of the market are not real values. So, an individual becomes a peculiar hostage of the market and the values and norms cherished by it and is only required to obey the laws of the market - and then life according to them shall also be ethically motivated. From the standpoint of Christian social doctrine, the market is not only the result of the creation of the hands and mind of a human, and the work cannot be more important than its author. The values cherished by the market are rather specific (for example, the quality of consumer goods). Undoubtedly, they are important, but they are not the only values: a human is entitled and may aspire to other values which are not blessed by the market but are personally important to him/her. And in such cases the human needs the real support not only of the community but also of the state, which must form the conditions for everybody and for each individual to aspire to their aims and to take into consideration the highest value - the human and the human's dignity, which cannot be sacrificed to the omnipotence of the faceless market. Regarding the object of the economic action of the needs of an individual and society, the results of them must be assessed not only within the economic (benefit, efficiency), but also the ethical (no contradictions to the aspirations of the individual) scale.

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 43
  • Page Range: 115-123
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Lithuanian