The Morality of Bargaining: Insights from “Caritas in Veritate” [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 100 (S1):79-88 (2011)
Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 Encyclical-Letter “ Caritas in Veritate ,” (CV) breaks some new ground in the tradition of Catholic social teaching. I argue that explicitly this document makes a call for a new theory of economic exchange. Whereas, the traditional scholastic theory of the “just price” was focused on “the principle of the equivalence in value of exchanged goods” (CV 35), a new theory of exchange must focus instead on “a metaphysical understanding of the relations between persons” (CV 53). True, Thomas Aquinas pioneered this new approach to the morality of exchange when he argued that the Golden Rule must take precedence over the logic of the just price: the relation between persons must trump the relation between the goods exchanged. Caritas in Veritate argues further for a new theory of exchange that combines elements of mutual gain with elements of gift-giving. Here again we see a revision of traditional scholastic theory in which every transaction was defined exclusively either as a unilateral gift (subject to norms of distributive justice and charity) or as a bilateral exchange (subject to norms of commutative justice). Benedict, by contrast, calls for a vision of economic life in which gift-giving and exchange are mixed, so that bargains are “redolent with the spirit of gift” (CV 37) in a new “economy of gratuitousness” (CV 38). I propose to outline a new theory of exchange in which the elements of mutual gain and gift-giving are combined. To do so, I shall have to revise the traditional scholastic analysis of the just price, which was focused on the equality of the goods exchanged and instead focus on the moral equality of the parties to an exchange
Keywords Bargain  Benedict XVI  Business ethics Caritas in Veritate  Catholic social teaching  Ethics and economics  Exchange gift  Just price
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1229-2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
James Franklin (2011). Caritas in Veritate: Economic Activity as Personal Encounter and the Economy of Gratuitousness. Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics 1 (1):Article 3.
Kevin McGovern (2009). Caritas in Veritate. Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 15 (1):1.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

9 ( #439,856 of 1,925,542 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,152 of 1,925,542 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.