Solidarity in a Technocratic Age: Commercialization, Catholic Social Teaching, and Moral Formation

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Do free markets teach us how to construct humane social relations or do they impede us from doing so? We discuss social scientific evidence on the nature of commercialization and its consequences for moral formation. From a virtue ethics perspective, people face a need to learn and practice the good. When interactions transition into the market sphere, we argue commercialization can fundamentally alter the nature of relationships, particularly for those relations formerly based on gift, sacrifice, and obligation. While modern social scientists accurately identify problems resulting from commercialization, we argue for the importance of theological social ethics, which can offer a penetrating analysis of the habits of gift and communal responsibility. Catholic social teaching in particular outlines the set of principles and institutions which foster sacrificial gift‐giving among individuals and organizations within society, providing a bulwark against the threat commercialization poses to many social relations.



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