In this week’s Acton Commentary I examine Sen. Marco Rubio’s case for “Common-Good Capitalism”:
Americans are searching for answers for the disintegration of the family, falling participation in religious and civic institutions, drug dependency, suicide, and economic dislocation. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., believes he has found the answer to the social crises of our time in Catholic social teaching. He describes his own reading of Catholic social teaching as “Common-Good Capitalism,” drawing principally on Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum emphasizing both the need to focus on the common good of all citizens and the intrinsic dignity of work that each contributes to our communities.
While Sen. Rubio’s interest in Catholic social teaching is most welcome as,
Authentic capitalism grows out of an understanding of the human person in a social and political context ordered to the flourishing of human persons. It never stands alone but alongside other elements of a healthy social order.
His economic analysis and public policy recommendations, which I criticize in the commentary, are less exciting:
Proper thinking about the human person, society, and institutions, like that done in Catholic social teaching, is essential to addressing social problems. Marco Rubio’s policy proposals however need to be equally well grounded in a sound understanding of the economy and the effects of public policy upon it.
These criticisms aside, Sen. Rubio has done the country a great service by contributing to a renewal of interest in Catholic social teaching which, along with other strains of Christian social thought, have been the preoccupation of the Acton Institute for nearly thirty years.
If you’d like to learn more about Catholic social teaching, “Common-Good Capitalism,” and criticisms Sen. Rubio has received from both the left and the right be sure to check out next week’s Acton Line Podcast where I interview Father Robert Sirico on these topics.