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The Ideology of Social Justice in Economic Justice for All

William E. Murnion
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 8, No. 11 (Nov., 1989), pp. 847-854
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25071975
Page Count: 8
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The Ideology of Social Justice in Economic Justice for All
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Abstract

Although both the American Catholic bishops and their commentators seem to agree that the economics pastoral is capitalist, if anything, in its ideology, a careful reading of the pastoral shows that the principle of social justice implicit in it is actually socialist, indeed communist, in nature. The bishops arrived at such a principle because of their interpretation of the biblical sense of justice as entailing a "preferential option for the poor." To justify this option on a rational basis, they developed a theory of social justice that may be summarized in the principle, familiar from Marx's writings, "From each according to one's ability, to each according to one's needs." Whether or not the bishops intended such a convergence in principle, this development sets them at odds with the capitalist ideology of the United States.

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