The marketplace is a remarkable social institution that has greatly extended our reach so shoppers in the West can now buy fresh-cut flowers, vegetables, and tropical fruits grown halfway across the globe even in the depths of winter. However, these expanded choices have also come with considerable moral responsibilities as our economic decisions can have far-reaching effects by either ennobling or debasing human lives. In this book, Albino Barrera examines our own moral responsibilities for the distant harms of our market transactions from a Christian viewpoint, identifying how the market's division of labour makes us unwitting collaborators in others' wrongdoing and in collective ills. His important account covers a range of different subjects, including law, economics, philosophy, and theology, in order to identify the injurious ripple effects of our market activities.
Albino Barrera is Professor of Economics and Theology at Providence College in Rhode Island. His previous publications include Globalisation and Economic Ethics (2007), Economic Compulsion and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2005), God and the Evil of Scarcity (2005) and Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy (2001).
Preface; Part I. Theory: Material Cooperation in Economic Life: 1. The nature of material cooperation and moral complicity; 2. Complicity in what? The problem of accumulative harms; 3. Too small and morally insignificant? The problem of overdetermination; 4. Who is morally responsible in the chain of causation? The problem of interdependence; Part II. Application: A Typology of Market-Mediated Complicity: A. Hard Complicity: 5. Benefiting from and enabling wrongdoing; 6. Precipitating gratuitous harms; B. Soft Complicity: 7. Leaving severe pecuniary externalities unattended; 8. Reinforcing injurious socioeconomic structures; Part III. Synthesis and Conclusions: 9. Toward a theology of economic responsibility; 10. Synthesis: Christian ethics and blameworthy material cooperation; References; Index.