In a recent essay at First Things, editor, Rusty Reno wrote a critique of Michael Novak’s The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism and argued that while Novak’s ideas were elegant, they no longer to apply to our current situation.
Law and Liberty asked me and several others to write responses to Reno’s piece, which was an unfortunate caricature of Novak’s work. I write:
The merit of Reno’s piece is to provoke discussion about complex issues and to highlight some of the problems we face in the current system of global capitalism. I share some of his worries. Unfortunately, he seems to have let his desire to be provocative overcome a fair and reasonable assessment of Novak, and his analysis of the current state of affairs reveals less about Novak’s flaws than his own.
One of his main flaws, I argue, is that he overstates the influence of capitalism on culture. I do not deny the the effects of capitalism on culture and I agree that:
Gluttony and intemperance in consumerism clearly have ramifications in the sexual realm. If Reno had said that, I would have nodded in agreement. But to make consumer choice the main culprit while at the same time minimizing the influence of socialist thought reflects a type of economistic reductionism which Reno supposedly laments.
You can read the entire article at Law and Liberty.