TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

“New Evangelicals” and Common-Good Capitalism

Marcia Pally’s “Non-Market Motives at Work in the Market: ‘New Evangelicals’ in Civil Society in the United States and Overseas” appears in Telos 157 (Winter 2011). Read the full version online at the TELOS Online website, or purchase a print copy of the issue here.

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, a reassessment of our global market system seems to be afoot: if neoliberalism (too much market) yields the Great Recession, if socialist planned markets (not enough market) produce the failed economies of the former Soviet bloc, and if social-market combinations (too much market centralization) progress toward the high-cost and slow growth of Western Europe, what are better options? This essay describes the economic justice efforts of “new evangelicals,” those who have left the right for an anti-consumerist, anti-militarist focus on economic justice, environmental protection, immigration reform, and racial/religious reconciliation. It reviews the history of U.S. evangelicalism, describes the current shift away from the religious right, and details “new evangelical” common-good capitalism, where the benefits of capitalist markets are preserved yet embedded in—and constrained by—common-good values. This is not alms-giving but the restructuring of opportunity for those whom the market has failed—not an undoing of market relations but a radical change of relations within the market. The undergirding religious doctrines and case studies, both domestic and overseas, are described. Against the view that linking markets to common-good principles is romantic or useless, “new evangelicals” are already on the ground, doing just this sort of linking.

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