Is There a Vatican School for Competition Policy?
34 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2014
Date Written: September 28, 2014
This paper examines whether the Catholic Church’s social teaching has something to tell to antitrust scholars and masters of competition policy. Although papal encyclical letters and other documents are not meant to provide an analytical framework giving clear answers to complex competition questions, this does not mean that these thoughts cannot benefit businessmen, scholars and policy makers. The Vatican teaching helps us remember that business and morality do not belong to two different worlds and that markets should serve the whole Man. It acknowledges the positive role of free markets, the exercise of economic freedom being an important part of human dignity, yet warns that competition can be preserved only if it is curbed both by moral and statutory rules. It is certainly not easy to find a balance between the commandments to ‘love your neighbor’ and ‘you shall not collect treasure on earth.’ I argue that market conduct that undermines business virtues should be prohibited, either by antitrust or other forms of self- or government-regulation.
Keywords: aims of competition law, morality, virtues, encyclical letters, ordoliberal school, Bible, virtuous competition, social responsibility, business ethics, human dignity
JEL Classification: K21, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation