The Left has seized on our economic troubles as an excuse to "blame the rich guy" and paint a picture of capitalism and the free market as selfish, greedy, and cruel. Democrats in Congress and "Occupy" protesters across the country assert that the free market is not only unforgiving, it's morally corrupt. According to President Obama and his allies, only by allowing the government to heavily control and regulate business and by redistributing the wealth can we ensure fairness and compassion.
Exactly the opposite is true, says Father Robert A. Sirico in his thought-provoking new book, "Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy." Father Sirico argues that a free economy actually promotes charity, selflessness, and kindness. And in "Defending the Free Market," he shows why free-market capitalism is not only the best way to ensure individual success and national prosperity but is also the surest route to a moral and socially-just society. In "Defending the Free Market," Father Sirico shows:
Why we can't have freedom without a free economy
Why the best way to help the poor is to a start a business
Why charity works--but welfare doesn't
How Father Sirico himself converted from being a leftist colleague of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden to recognizing the merits of a free economy.
In this heated presidential election year, the Left will argue that capitalism may produce winners, but it is cruel and unfair. Yet as Sirico proves in "Defending the Free Market," capitalism does not simply provide opportunity for material success, but it ensures a more ethical and moral society as well.
Is There a Moral Case for Capitalism?
Socialism has been discredited. The totalitarian states of the twentieth century have collapsed. And we beneficiaries of the globalized world economy are grateful that we enjoy plentiful food, clothing, shelter--and cheap electronics.
But can any moral person really be "for" capitalism?
Consumerism is an appalling spectacle, with Americans glutting themselves on all kinds of excess, while people in the developing world starve. The rich seem to be hogging far more than their share of the world's resources. Free markets may be efficient, but are they fair? Aren't there some things--life-saving health care, for example--that we can't afford to leave to the vicissitudes of the market?
Now, in "Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy," Father Robert Sirico--a Catholic priest, former leftist associate of Jane Fonda, and now a longtime champion of the free market--answers all these objections. Father Sirico shows how a free economy--necessarily including private property, legally enforceable contracts, and prices and interest rates freely agreed to by willing parties to transactions (not set by government bureaucrats)--is the best way to meet society's material needs, from basic nutrition to sophisticated health care technology. Well-intentioned activists who seek to enlarge the state's economic role are only killing the goose that laid the golden egg. The fact is, private enterprise in the free market has lifted millions out of dire poverty--far more people than state welfare or private charity have ever rescued from want.
But a free economy isn't just by far the most efficient way of producing the largest amount of goods and services for the world's population. Economic freedom is also an indispensable support to the other freedoms we prize--such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The right to economic freedom doesn't make things more important than people--just the reverse. It's only if we have economic rights that we can effectively protect ourselves from government encroachment into the most private areas of our lives--right down to our consciences.
As governments across the globe continue to act with unprecedented irresponsibility--burdening the creators of wealth with ever more regulation and borrowing colossal sums of money just as populations are set to decline precipitately--our prosperity, our economic freedom, and our most basic rights are threatened. The comfortable lifestyles and plentiful goods we take for granted are at risk. But so is the liberty whose source is found in our inherent dignity as human beings, endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. Father Sirico sounds a timely warning--and reveals the principles that must be the basis for the recovery of our freedoms.
"I've been eagerly anticipating such a book from Father Sirico for a long time. The man has delivered magnificently. Defending the Free Market does more than the title suggests. It celebrates the miracle of freedom and points a lost generation back to the free and virtuous society."
--Lawrence Kudlow, anchor of "CNBC's The Kudlow Report"
"Father Robert Sirico is a voice who must be heard. Defending the Free Market provides a solidly Christian perspective on capitalism and free markets--and makes the compelling case that we cannot possibly understand economics and how markets function without understanding the true nature of man."
--Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship(R) and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
"Defending the Free Market addresses the morality of entrepreneurship from the point of view of a sophisticated economist who is also an inspiring theologian, leading us on a journey to the free and virtuous society, animated by human creativity in the image of the Creator."
--George Gilder, author of "Wealth and Poverty"
"Every American concerned about our economy and the erosion of individual liberty should read Father Sirico's insightful and well-reasoned book. As he makes crystal clear, our prosperity will continue to be provided not by government but through the proven power of the economic and personal freedoms we enjoy within American free enterprise."
--Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway and chairman of the Orlando Magic
"I've been doing financial counseling and education for over two decades, and one thing that has always stood out to me is how much money is connected to every part of our lives, from relationships to politics to ministry. Money is never just about money; it's always just part of the issue. That's why I appreciate Father Robert Sirico's ministry. Sure, he talks about money, but he also shows how all of these different aspects of our lives interact with and impact each other."
--Dave Ramsey, "New York Times" best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio show host
Hardcover 0.9" H x 9.1" L x 6.0" W (0.85 lbs) 213 pages