The Ethical Economy

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Feb 16, 2010    •    548 Views

During a recent discussion at Trinity Church (near the NYSE) Susan Lee, an economist, and The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke. Both sought a better society. Both wanted a wealthier society. Then though, they diverged.

Summing up each one’s perspective, Dr. Lee said that, “Economists are interested in how to make the pie larger. Theologians are interested in how to divide the pie…”
(In his grave nearby, Alexander Hamilton surely had an opinion.)

The Economic Life
Our dilemma as a society is locating the most ethical point on a continuum of wealth redistribution. On this continuum, imagine no redistribution on the right and total sharing of that a person earns on the left. At the beginning of the 20th century, we could say that we were at the right end. Then, with the passage of social security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965, we moved leftward. Now, should we move left or right?

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