Review by Choice Review
Barrera (Providence College) here develops a theological ethics that addresses the problem of economic compulsion: the unintended effects on third parties that arise from exchanges in the so-called "free market." In clear prose accessible to nonspecialists, Barrera convincingly demonstrates that the free market creates unintended burdens on those least able to bear them. Here is an area where Christian ethics calls for a moral response. Barrera first presents the nature of economic compulsion: how people are pushed into hard choices because of changes in the market (chapters 1 and 2). Then he argues that the Scriptures provide a "moral baseline" for economic ethics: God desires economic security as evident in his gifts of material sufficiency and participation in divine providence, and in the provisions made for economic restoration in the Hebrew law codes (chapters 3 and 4). Lastly, Barrera shows how economic security fits within the current discourse on human rights, and uses the case of agricultural protectionism to illustrate how economic compulsion occurs and what ethical principles are involved (chapters 5 and 6). The book offers a Christian economic ethic for responding to the plight of those adversely affected by the global economy. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers. C. R. Piar California State University, Long Beach
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