The Catholic Church has, for generations, been reluctant to come to terms with capitalism. Novak argues that a 100-year debate within the Catholic Church has yielded a richer and more humane vision of capitalism than that described in Weber's "Protestant Ethic".
"Novak, who holds the Jewett Chair at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., has written a critical historical analysis of the Catholic critique of modern political and economic systems. He covers the gamut of papal social thought from Rerum Novarum to Centesimus Annus in a humorous, knowledgeable, and reasoned manner. What emerges is the foresight of a Catholic bureaucracy that adhered to principles of economic freedom and social justice by its then reviled but now vindicated practice of supporting democratic capitalism. The critique of democratic capitalism and its moral shortcomings is not as detailed as the critique applied to socialism. Even so, leftists and moderates both should enjoy this mix of new and synthesized right-wing apologies for the Catholic embrace of capitalism.
- Kenneth M. Locke, Radford, Va."
Michael Novak (born 9 September, 1933) is an American Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. The author of more than twenty-five books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak is most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (1982). In 1994 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, which included a million-dollar purse awarded at Buckingham Palace. He writes books and articles focused on capitalism, religion, and the politics of democratization.
Novak served as U.S. chief ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1981 and led the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1986.
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