Acton Institute Powerblog

What is ‘economic man’?

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“Intellectuals are often vocal critics of capitalism. Most of them lean left politically, so it is easy to identify anti-capitalism with progressivism,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. “It is therefore no coincidence that the modern welfare state has been administered by elites eager to correct supposed market failures on the way to a more egalitarian society. Leftist elites tend to be university professors rather than captains of industry, but elites they remain.”

How, then, are we to explain the growing dissatisfaction with capitalism among those hardy band of intellectuals who call themselves conservatives? Has capitalism changed in some fundamental way so as to lose their support? Or was it always seen as the ugly sister to be tolerated for the sake of the alliance against communism? Perhaps there is something about intellectuals, regardless of their political affiliation, that leads them to look down upon moneymaking as the driving force of society.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton Commentary and other publications here.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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