God of the Market
10 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2022
Date Written: December 19, 2021
James Buchanan makes a striking claim: If humans have free will, then even an omniscient planner cannot foreknow the outcomes of market exchange. For Buchanan, this claim demonstrates the impossibility of achieving market outcomes by central planning. However, I argue that the Christian God would foreknow market outcomes. Moreover, despite Buchanan’s atheism and antitheism, his presuppositions (free will, subjective consciousness, and reason) carve out an explanatory role for the existence of God. In turn, God provides a foundation for objective moral values, and our creation in his image objectively defines our personal identities. These conclusions would defeat Buchanan’s “normative individualism” defense of liberty. Instead, on a theistic view, one should defend liberty because of its essential role in achieving the common good.
Keywords: morality, identity, liberty, common good, Christianity, Buchanan
JEL Classification: B53, D63, Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation