Notes and slides from a talk for the Blackfriars Poverty in Britain Group and the Las Casas Institute, 10 March 2019
An article in New Blackfriars: "Three Rival Versions on Monetary Enquiry: Symbol, Treasure Token". Available to subscribers here
In the human imagination, money is a symbol of many things, from base and alienated labour to individual freedom and social power. In the organisation of society, money is a treasure that breaks the limits of time. In the economy of labour and consumption, money is no more than a functional token. The move from symbol through treasure to token is a typically modern story of ever greater cultural disenchantment and every greater functional success. Fortunately, the conflicting narratives of money do not lead to the interminable mutual incomprehension of conflicting approaches to morality. If anything, the de‐mystification of money has helped create spiritual opportunities.
An article for Humanum: "Lights and Shadows of Modern Labour". In which I try to summarise and advance Catholic Social Teaching on the subject of work, especially modern work. There are, as the title suggests, light and shadows - I say there are more of the former:
It should not be surprising if the light predominates in economic parts of life. After all, the modern spirit is nothing if not worldly, technical (even technocratic, to use a favourite word of Pope Francis) and universalist. The worldliness has led to ever greater attention to the work of human hands. The technical excellence has ensured that this work is ever more productive. And the universality—the vision of all people being essentially equal in this world and not only in the eyes of God—has encouraged a social revaluation of manual labour and a Christian-friendly appreciation of the striving for excellence in all sorts of labour.
The modern contribution to the economy, including the life of labour, were long in coming. The industrial revolution followed the intellectual, artistic and political revolutions (although it preceded the sexual revolution), and in the first few generations of industrialisation, the new labour was predominantly wretched. In retrospect, though, I think it is clear that the modern spirit is actually fairly well-suited for economic life, which is the most material and least spiritual of all human activities. The tendency of critics of modernity to focus only on economic harm—the genuine depredations of consumerism, profit-hunger and economically smothering governments—seems to me misguided. The modern economy, including the life of labour, still has many shadows, but there are far darker patches in many other parts of modern life.
The whole article is here: http://bit.ly/2oS9CiW
I say a few words on France24 about being Jewish, American, British, German and European. A nice piece of film-making: http://bit.ly/2CBqkc3
Also of possible interest, my columns for Reuters Breakingviews:
Welcome to the website of Edward Hadas, Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, economist, journalist, author, financial analyst and thoughtful Catholic. On this site you will find information about my latest books, as well as articles ranging over such topics as the moral and ethical basis for economics, a Christian understanding of my own Jewish heritage, and the financial crisis.
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