Conflicting views of markets and economic justice: Implications for student learning [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 69 (4):373 - 387 (2006)
Abstract
This paper describes a flaw in the teaching of issues related to market economics and social justice at American institutions of higher learning. The flaw we speak of is really a gap, or an educational disconnect, which exists between those faculty who support market-based economies and those who believe capitalism promotes economic injustice. The thesis of this paper is that the gap is so wide and the ideas that are promoted are so disconnected that students are trapped into choosing one or the other position (or neither) and are left unable to link the two sides of the discussion. Such an educational process is not one that produces free and reasoned discernment. In this paper, we briefly relate how we came to be aware of the disconnect and its harms. We present evidence that a pedagogical gulf exists within the teaching of markets and capitalism at American universities - faculty interviews, course syllabi, portions of the corpus of material generally referred to as Catholic Social Thought, as well as references to traditional, mainstream economic theory. Further, we give evidence of the confusion and frustration among students this gulf causes. We suggest possible reasons for the gulf-primarily through an investigation of the differences in underlying assumptions and misperceptions that exist between two divisions within universities. We conclude by suggesting a set of curricular changes designed to improve teaching. The authors' aim is not to change people's minds. It is to change their teaching. The authors believe that these curricular changes will leave students less frustrated and better prepared for a life of significant service - with improved critical thinking skills
Keywords business school  Catholic Social Thought  critical thinking  humanities  market economics  social justice  welfare theory
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