Complementary Traditions


The True Wealth of Nations

Catholic Social Thought and Economic Life

Edited by Daniel K. Finn

Oxford University Press, $35, 380 pp.


The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Edited by Francis G. Castles, Stephan Leibfried, Jane Lewis, Herbert Obinger, and Christopher Pierson

Oxford University Press, $150, 876 pp.


Two new volumes of scholarly essays make impressive contributions to our understanding of how moral values relate to modern economic life. Although neither deals directly with the events of 1989 and the fall of Communism, both would be inconceivable had the Berlin Wall not been pulled down. Both social theory and Catholic social thought are still coming to terms with these epochal events. While capitalism and democracy emerged triumphant at the close of the Cold War, just what kind of capitalism and what manner of democratic institutions will best serve people in an increasingly globalized economic order remain open questions and a work in progress. In an age of financial crisis and skepticism about the role of...

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About the Author

Thomas Massaro, SJ, is professor of social ethics at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He writes frequently on Catholic social thought and policy.