7 comments

  1. from: http://easternchristianbooks.blogspot.com/

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    Orthodox Christian Social Thought
    I have often heard it said that Eastern Christian thought has a great deal of catching up to do compared to the developments in Catholic social teaching since Leo XIII’s landmark Rerum Novarum. Though many Eastern Fathers–some of them noted on here–have of course written treatises about poverty, hunger, and treating the downcast, not a lot has been written in the modern period taking account of very different socioeconomic contexts. But that is changing, and a new book from the Orthodox priest-scholar Gregory Jensen aims to help: The Cure for Consumerism (Acton Institute, 2015), 154pp.

    Volume 2 in Acton’s series on Orthodox social thought, this latest installment, according to the publisher, has the following focus:
    Despite the rapid increase in human flourishing since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, critics of the market economy insist that it leads inevitably to consumerism and other excesses of materialism. Those who make this indictment—including sociologists, political pundits, and religious leaders—also ignore how economic liberty has brought about one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: an 80 percent reduction in world poverty since 1970. The Cure for Consumerism examines popular prescriptions for addressing consumerism that range from simply consuming less to completely overhauling our economic system. In this lively and accessible book, Rev. Gregory Jensen synthesizes insights from the spiritual tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church with modern social science to craft a clear understanding of consumerism, to offer real solutions to the problems, and to put faith and economic freedom to work for both the common good and the kingdom of God.
    I’ve been in touch with the author about an interview, and hope to have that up here over the summer.

    1. I’m well aware of Acton’s ongoing attempt to manufacture an Orthodox social teaching out of whole cloth, and others have called critical attention to this already.

      http://solidarityhall.org/the-acton-institutes-worrisome-interest/

      The question is, Will the Orthodox be misled? Without a centralized magisterium (particularly in America), it’s not going to be easy to offer firm rebuttals to this stuff — but it’s not impossible, either. The Catholic experience can provide a helpful model of what needs to be done, though there are certainly plenty of Catholic dissenters out there who drape themselves in the mantle of orthodoxy.

  2. Thank you for this. About a year ago, I read a statement from someone in Acton, referring to “OST” (as opposed to “CST”). I asked this agent whether OST had anything to do with Catholic Social Theory: he was obviously miffed at the suggestion, and announced that his organization had put together something of a first for Orthodoxy — i.e., a “social theory” that did not have a bias against capitalism and entrepreneurialism (presumably a tendency that renders CST so problematic). In that, my correspondent was correct — such a pro-commercial “OST” really is unprecedented, and Acton can rest on its laurels. But whether OST as such is novel ought to be submitted to the likes of the Cappadocians and Chrysostom.

    Thank you for your highlighting the irony of Acton talking about Distributes.

  3. IIRC, that carried interest ought to be treated as capital gains and not as income was affirmed at the Fifth Council of Constantinople. This goes back to the Apostles and Early Church Fathers who privileged investment over work in the hierarchy of worthy human activity.

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