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Michael Novak's Portrait of Democratic Capitalism

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Abstract

Michael Novak’s achievement lies in his construction of a theory of democratic capitalism based on clear thinking about the world. He has identified and analyzed the underlying ideas that make our system of democratic capitalism meaningful. Although virtually all of his writings contribute to the portrait he has painted of democratic capitalism, six books in particular have made his case especially well. These are The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Free Persons and the Common Good, This Hemisphere of Liberty, The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Business As a Calling: Work and the Examined Life, and The Fire of Invention: Civil Society and the Future of the Corporation. The central purposes of this paper are: (1) to introduce readers to Michael Novak’s explanation of democratic capitalism by briefly summarizing and discussing the major ideas included in each of these works; (2) to serve as an invitation for individuals to read these provocative works for themselves; and (3) to provide a background for individuals who wish to study Michael Novak’s ideas in greater depth.

Edward W. Younkins, "Michael Novak's Portrait of Democratic Capitalism," Journal of Markets & Morality 2, no. 1 (Spring 1999): 8-34


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