The Moral Challenges of Economic Equality and Diversity
Philosophia Reformata 78, no. 2 (2013), special issue
First Amsterdam Kuyper Seminar, "Economics, Christianity & the Crisis: Towards a New Architectonic Critique," VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands, January 8-9, 2013
13 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013 Last revised: 25 Oct 2013
Date Written: September 25, 2013
Attention to economic inequality has increased in the wake of the global financial crisis, and along with this increased attention has come the need for reconsideration of the dynamics of moral reflection on inequality. Inequality is often viewed as a negative in terms of economic and social costs. But there are also moral challenges that arise from inequality. The Christian tradition emphasizes the diversity, and therefore the inequality, of the created order, and as such inequality is not simply a result of sin. After the fall into sin, there are new dynamics which consist of sinful kinds of inequality as well as sinful attitudes towards the gifts and endowments of others. This “grief” at the good of others has been classically understood as the vice of envy (invidia). This article argues for the ongoing relevance of envy as a particularly important moral category for evaluation of economic inequality.
Keywords: envy, equality, economic inequality, happiness, social justice, morality, markets
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