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Market Social Order and Christian Organicism in Centesimus Annus

A. M. C. Waterman


I shall argue that Centesimus Annus superimposes a set of propositions appreciative of a market social order upon an underlying body of traditional papal social teaching that is alien to, and fundamentally incompatible with, such an order. For whereas traditional Christian social theory envisages society as an organism, Enlightenment social theoryin which political economy is an explanans and market order an explanandumviews society as a habitat. My article will establish the intellectual context of papal social teaching, contrast this with the presuppositions of a market social order, exhibit and explain the conceptual dissonance within Centesimus Annus, and identify the social-theoretic and theological agenda the encyclical sets for normative social theory.

A. M. C. Waterman, "Market Social Order and Christian Organicism in Centesimus Annus," Journal of Markets & Morality 2, no. 2 (Fall 1999): 220-233

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