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The God of the Market: A Molinist Response to James M. Buchanan’s Atheism

Christopher M. Russo


James M. Buchanan makes a striking claim: If humans have free will, then even an omniscient planner cannot foreknow the outcomes of market exchange. For Buchanan, this claim demonstrates the impossibility of achieving market outcomes by central planning. However, I argue that the Christian God would foreknow market outcomes. Moreover, despite Buchanan’s atheism and antitheism, his presuppositions (free will, subjective consciousness, and reason) carve out an explanatory role for the existence of God. In turn, God provides a foundation for objective moral value, and our creation in his image objectively defines our personal identities. These conclusions contravene Buchanan's "normative individualism" defense of liberty. Rather, on a Catholic view, one should defend liberty because of its essential role in achieving the common good.

Christopher M. Russo, "The God of the Market: A Molinist Response to James M. Buchanan’s Atheism," Journal of Markets & Morality 26, no. 2 (2023): 257-273

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