Behavioral economics discredits capitalism

Part 2 Criticism of the churches' understanding of the economy from an economic and political perspective 99 Is the market inhuman? On the compatibility of the market economy and Christian ethics Gerhard Schwarz 1. Enemy capitalism the devil's work of the market economy One does not even have to try the liberation theology, which is highly controversial in the Catholic official church with its Marxist sympathies: in countless official and semi-official church documents of the Christian churches, in the specialist articles by theologians in specialized publications, in texts by pastors, pastors and priests in popular newspapers and magazines, but above all in sermons and intercessions, one thing becomes clear again and again: for many people who are active in the Christian churches, capitalism provides officials as well like ordinary members, experts as well as laypeople, represent an enemy image. This hardly needs detailed evidence. It is not a weak, barely perceptible trend, but a dominant trend. Church representatives who stand behind the free market economy and the open society with almost no ifs and buts are a minority; the rule are men and women of the churches who, at best, only suffer from capitalism, but at worst don't lose their hair. This could be explained by the fact that Karl Marx and his epigones succeeded in discrediting the term capitalism so comprehensively in the German-speaking world that it has become a rather unreflective swear word. In the whole Anglo-Saxon world, on the other hand, the word capitalism is rightly connected with far fewer negative associations; the term describes only one particularly defining characteristic of a free market economy, namely the (private) accumulation of productive capital on the one hand as the basis of a certain continuity and stability, and on the other hand as a central prerequisite for investments in promising large projects. 100 It is therefore certainly not only due to the word, but also to the concept that must be with the word, as Goethe put it. Profit thinking, pure greed for money, exploitation, rationality instead of humanity, exaggerated individualism, hedonism, materialism, consumerism, social coldness, lack of social cohesion, increasing income disparities, the idolatry of mammons, overexploitation and environmental destruction - hardly any badness that capitalism or the market economy does not is appended. Somehow none of the critics seem to have gotten past Karl Kraus's famous pun.1 When a listener of his lecture told him he wanted to study business ethics, Kraus responded acutely: Mr. colleague, you will have to choose one of the two. That describes the mood of many representatives of the official churches as well as of committed lay people. The social aspect of the market economy Many, too many, contrast capitalism, which is understood in this way, that is, capitalism, which is practically only negatively charged, with socialism and, simply because of the terminology, think that one order is anti-social, the other social. Socialism has not only brought unbelievable misery to humanity, it has also made the people who had to live under it more anti-social. The world owes capitalism, on the other hand, to an abundance of innovations, owes it to the fact that never before have so many people been able to live in prosperity and freedom as today, owes it to the fact that people in the developed world are far better off than they were a hundred or two hundred years ago2 And it owes it not least to the fact that billions of people have outgrown absolute poverty in the last thirty years. The bottom quarter of the population is better off today than the top quarter 100 years ago, and the poorest 10% of Swiss would be among the richest 10% in India.3 Of course, capitalism is not blameless, but it is unequal in its effects more social than socialism. 4 But since Pope Francis spoke in Evangelii gaudium of this economy that kills, of money that governs instead of serving, and of 1 Cf. Hans Lenk / Matthias Marin, Introduction: Business ethics - a contradiction in oneself? 7. 2 See Angus Maddison, The World Economy. A Millennial Perspective. Cf. also Gerhard Schwarz, Freedom from Need and Needs 159–161. 3 See Branko Milanovic, Global Income Distribution. 4 Cf. the much-discussed text by Martin Rhonheimer, Are market economy and capitalism enemies of social justice ?, published in 2016 on the website of the Austrian Institute he heads ( enemy-of-social-justice /) and in shorter versions in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 101 of the social inequality that is a consequence of the economy, many men and women of the church feel confirmed in their rejection of capitalism and the free market economy, in their complaints about the dominance of the economy, especially the financial economy. The former head of Nestlé, Helmut Maucher, who was not afraid of clear words, liked to speak of Sacred Heart Socialists in this context. A successful marriage Although this would also be necessary again and again, the aim here is not to analyze the economic misunderstandings that often stand behind such anti-capitalist attitudes, nor to show the damage that occurs when such statements are included moral authority and often little touched by economic expertise are proclaimed from the pulpit. Rather, this essay seeks to show that a committed commitment to Christianity, including Catholicism (in Protestantism, thanks to Max Weber, hardly anyone doubts it anyway) 5 is very well compatible with the affirmation of capitalism and a liberal order - and without dislocating oneself or make lazy compromises. As a Christian you don't have to be liberal, but you don't have to think socialist either, even if many representatives of the official church keep suggesting from the pulpit. Christianity and market economy, Catholicism and capitalism are compatible. In any case, one should not forget that the world in which we live, the Occident, is essentially shaped by two fundamental forces: by 1500 years of common and 500 years of separate history of Christianity on the one hand and by 900 years of capitalism, if you look at Jacques Le Goff sees “the tremendous polemic about usury” as the hour of birth of (pre-) capitalism.6 However, for marriage to work, Christianity and Catholicism must not be fundamentalist and over-dogmatic and capitalism should roughly correspond to the principles of ordoliberalism . This type of market economy, which is largely German-speaking in theory and practice, describes an order in which the market is embedded in a 5 Cf. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Market Economy and Ethics, also Michael Novak, The Catholic Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism 25-27, and above all Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason. 6 Jacques Le Goff, Usury and Hell's Torments 9. Cf. also Alfred Müller-Armack, Religion und Wirtschaft. A functioning legal, property and competition system that is shaped and, above all, enforced by a strong but lean democratic state. With the help of the four key terms competition, private property, state and justice, this compatibility of market economy and Christian faith can be shed light on. On the one hand, it is a central anchor of a free economic order, on the other hand, it is also about subject areas of the market economy, in which the sometimes understandable, but anything but necessary, efforts of the churches with the market economy seem to be particularly virulent. 2. The Christian view of the world and man as the basis of individualism The basis of everything, the central foundation of the compatibility of market economy and Christian faith, is the parallel in the view of the world and man. First, the Christian understanding of man as an individual, endowed with equal dignity, accepted in his individuality by God, is perfectly compatible with the market-based, liberal image of man and also with the methodological individualism, which forms the basis of market-economy thinking. It is people who act, who decide, who become guilty, and not collectives. The fact that every human being as a child of God is granted eternal life and that the soul of every human being is in direct contact with God are, as Alexander Riistow7 noted, the central spiritual roots of individualism and liberalism. Many liberals are hardly aware of these religious roots, although the concept of dignity, the dignitas hominis, “is inconceivable without the idea of ​​a higher authority conferring this rank” .8 Second, it must be remembered in this context that the market economy, capitalism, could hardly have developed without the openness of Christian theology to reason, to logic and also to scientific progress. Many other religions put - and still do - much more emphasis on the mystery of faith, on mysticism and intuition. In any case, in the Christian West and not in the Middle East or Asia, chemistry developed from alchemy and astronomy from astrology. All of this happened long before the Reformation, and the beginnings of capitalism also go back a long way, one relates to 7 Cf. for example Alexander Riistow, Question and Answer 342. 8 Christoph Weber, Katholizismus und Liberalismus 176. 103 the forerunners that go back to the 12th century 9 And even the cradle of capitalism in the narrower sense is more likely to be found in Northern Italy and Flanders in the 15th century and then in England, and not so much in Germany or Switzerland, i.e. the home countries of the great reformers Luther, Zwingli and Calvin.10 Third, religions, all religions, are sources of basic attitudes and values; they are part of the cultural memory even in modern societies.11 Especially capitalism, which relies on living together with as few state rules as possible and on the coordination of various interests from below , can not work if society is not harmed by some common and market economy oning core values ​​is shaped. It was what Wilhelm Röpke once thematized with his famous title Beyond Supply and Demand12, that the market economy cannot provide these necessary - if not sufficient - common values ​​itself, but that they can be used at home, in schools and not least in must be built up and passed on to the churches. Religion thus becomes both a prerequisite and - with its moral claims - the (necessary) limit of capitalism. Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde transferred this idea to the modern constitutional state, which is also unable to create the foundations on which it is based itself. These considerations are important with a view to the question of how much value pluralism a liberal, open society can tolerate or whether it does not necessarily require a certain value homogeneity if it wants to get by with as few state rules as possible.13 9 Cf. Subhi Y. Labib, Capitalism in Medieval Islam, in: Journal of Economic History, 29 (1969) 79-96 and Jürgen Kocka, Geschichte des Kapitalismus, Munich 2013. 10 Cf. the provocative, but also very stimulating treatise by Rodney Stark The Victory of Reason. It stands in contrast to the thesis advocated by Yaron Brook and many libertarian thinkers in the tradition of Ayn Rand that a basic religious attitude stands in opposition to the two philosophical pillars of a free society, reason and self-interest, and thus undermines freedom. See Onkar Ghate / Yaron Brook, The Place of Religion in the Quest for a Free Society. 11 Cf. Annette Schavan, Religious Beliefs as Factors in the Political Debate 563-565. 12 Wilhelm Röpke, Beyond Supply and Demand. 13 See Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Staat, Gesellschaft, Freiheit 60. See also Gerhard Schwarz / Beat Sitter-Liver and others. (Ed.), Religion, Liberality and the Rule of Law. Martin Rhonheimer thinks Röpke's statement surprisingly - and incomprehensible to me - as trivial. Cf. Martin Rhonheimer, Prosperity for all through market economy, in: Helmut Kukacka / Alexander Rauner (eds.), Prosperity for all through market economy 9–38, esp. 32–34. 104 3. Three errors of the criticism of capitalism The hypostatization of terms The fact that the churches rub so much on capitalism, despite these similarities and common roots and despite the reliance of the market economy on the value provider "religion", is due to a considerable extent to the hypostatization of terms, especially that of the concept of market. It is apparently largely forgotten that the market is not a being, that it is never the market that acts, but that it is people who operate in this market who behave responsibly - or irresponsibly -. Because the market economy is an order formed by people, nothing human is alien to it, it will repeatedly lead to misconduct and excesses, to violations of legal rules as well as violations of moral rules. This is where the churches should and could start, that is their competence. And they should be able to recognize that all the much-lamented, supposedly negative, developments that are accused of order are either not negative at all or are a result of individual misconduct and not of order itself. The churches' criticism of capitalism, on the other hand, likes to invoke "structural sin", the structural nature of injustice and economic exploitation. Certainly, a free market economy does not prescribe the correct behavior in each case, it often only sanctions violations of good faith in the long term, it does not force correct behavior in the short term, and above all it leaves a lot of room for good and bad. The uncritical affirmation of overregulation of the economy in order to avert harm and prevent bad things overlooks, however, that the morality and knowledge of the regulatory authorities are no better than those of the market players and that this limits the scope for moral - or immoral - behavior. Forced behavior cannot claim any ethical quality. Therefore, the church would have to affirm an order in which people can behave responsibly ("protected in doing what he believes his duty", as Lord Acton put it14), in which they can prove themselves morally instead of being led by a lead .15 14 John Dalberg-Acton, Essays on freedom and power 32. 15 Cf. Gerhard Schwarz, Die freiheitliche Wirtschaftsordnung und der Katholizismus 38. In his magnum opus, Hayek points out that the idea that moral merit presupposes freedom is different from the ancient Greeks through Scholasticism, Schiller and Tocqueville to the more recent intellectual history. And he sums it up in the sentence: "Freedom is 105 The confusion of selfishness and egoism A central point of criticism of the churches of the market economy is the claim that the market economy doctrine on the one hand wrongly describes people as egoistic and on the other hand it demands and promotes this egotism . This criticism is incorrect in two respects. On the one hand, self-interest or self-interest, which the market economy concept speaks of, must not be equated with exaggerated egoism. Self-interest only means feeling responsible for yourself and your loved ones and taking care of yourself and your loved ones accordingly. What is supposed to be morally questionable about this remains a mystery. On the other hand, people actually behave self-interested, although, as we have not only known since the booming behavioral economy, not always and not always in the same way, but self-interest is simply part of human behavior and is not created by a specific economic order in the first place. That is why economics analyzes many aspects of economic coexistence under the assumption that people are rational and selfish - and it has thus gained a lot of knowledge. However, this concept is not meant to be normative. It does not demand any self-interest from people, and it certainly does not demand exaggerated and unrestrained egoism.16 Faraway instead of neighborly love If there is such a thing as an ideal Christian community, then this is, even if it may no longer be politically correct today, certainly much more the family (or a family-like association) than the state. Only in relatively small communities such as the family can love, compassion, and social responsibility serve as links rather than power and hierarchy. This is where the social nature of the human being is expressed; a kind of communism can even rule here.But one of the most serious - and most frequent - mistakes in the thinking of social philosophy is, as Friedrich August von Hayek has pointed out, 17 that the laws of the family apply to the large community of a city, a canton or even an opportunity to act well, but only if they there is also an opportunity to act badly. " Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Constitution of Freedom 98. 16 The presentation by Karl Brunner and William H. Meckling, The Perception of Man and the Conception of "Society": Two Approaches to Understanding Society, makes this conception of Homo oeconomicus, des REMM (resourceful, evaluating, maximizing man), as Brunner calls it, understandable. 17 Cf. Friedrich A. von Hayek, The fatal presumption, esp. 16-17. 106 all over the country. The same mistake in thinking stems from the frequently encountered redefinition of love of neighbor to love of distant ones. Much would be gained if the people in the family, in the circle of friends, in the neighborhood and at work reflected on charity in the original sense of the word, i.e. on the most important anchor - and in a certain sense the unique selling point - of the Christian faith . As with any scarce good, charity - perhaps the scarcest good of all - should be treated very carefully and economically. 4. Similarities instead of areas of tension The competition Manfred Spieker once said that since rerum novarum there has been no doubt that for the Catholic Church humane social conditions can only be those in which, among other things, market and competition are guaranteed.18 That is a relatively daring claim. As Anton Rauscher also complained, unfortunately, even in Centesimus annus, there is no direct appraisal of a functioning competition for social development.19 When church documents speak of competition, it is practically never without the fact that the market is unlawful warned and its sole validity as a principle of order is questioned. In Mater et magistra (1961) "competition as the so-called liberals" want it to be branded as completely incompatible with Christian teaching and human nature.20 Competition is not only part of the basic anthropological endowment of Homo sapiens, but we also owe him innovation and progress. Of course, this competition must be subject to certain - usually state - rules of the game, it must not be conducted with unfair means. Market economy does not mean abuse, and it does not mean that crony capitalism either, which in its connection between state and big business is anything but market economy. But under this prerequisite of clean rules, competition is a great discovery process and an instrument of disempowerment. After all, Albertus Magnus already described the price as fair in the 13th century, “which the goods sold according to the 18 Manfred Spieker, Ordnungspolitik und Catholic Church 760. 19 Cf. Niels Goldschmidt, Der Brückenschlag zum Markt 15. 20 Cf. Gerhard Schwarz, Die Freiheitliche Wirtschaftsordnung und der Katholizismus 36. 107 estimate of the respective market ”.21 The Catholic Church recognizes this on the one hand, citing Centesimus annus, for example:“ The free market is an important institution from a social point of view because it produces efficient results in the production of goods and services. ”22 But at the same time the church is finding it extremely difficult to compete, perhaps because its confrontation with the market is based on a caricature of competition as a Darwinian struggle of all against all - and fighting against this front man then the representatives of the Church. Competition is then made responsible, it must not be made an idol, it must be anchored in moral objectives, it must bring about social benefit, in short, it must find its limits with a view to the common good Gospels are praised for those who, following Jesus, give up their personal possessions, and the statement that it is more difficult for the rich to get to heaven than for the camel through the eye of a needle does not sound very property-friendly either. But there is no justification for collective or even state property in the Bible, but rather an affirmation of private property all in all. Even Yahweh's commandment «You shall not steal» presupposes the legality of private property, 24 regardless of its size and type of use. By the way, property is protected so much that even desire, envy, is considered a sin. The right to conclude free contracts is also derived from private property. In the parable of the workers in the vineyard who all receive the same wages, although some are hired early in the morning and others only during the day, which is interesting not only with a view to the ideas of justice (cf. later in the section "Justice") the owner replied to the criticism by asking whether they had not consented to the contract and whether he could not do what he wanted with his property. Thinkers like Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, and then above all the late sixteenth-century Spanish scholastics of the school of Salamanca, gave private property, profit and - occasionally with slight restrictions - interest their "blessings" already 200 years before Adam Smith; and that Pope John Paul II after the 21 Albertus Magnus, quoted from Janina Serfas, Just Price, Just Wages 18-19. 22 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church 255. 23 A. a. Cit. 256 f. 24 cf. Michael Novak, The Catholic Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism 31. 108 The collapse of communism gave private property a high priority, is also somewhat understandable in terms of contemporary history. There is no better institution than private property, both for dampening the scarcity of resources and for allocating scarce goods. To demand the protection of private property against all regulatory interventions, against the erosion by inflation and against the desires of the state, would therefore be the more noble task of the churches than to warn everywhere about a misunderstood social obligation of property. The formula of the German constitution "property obliges" is likely to have been nourished by Christian ideas of social responsibility. But who does it actually oblige, and above all, what should property oblige? Social responsibility would best be expressed in free, profit-oriented entrepreneurship and not in uneconomical and therefore permanently unsustainable behavior, such as paying higher wages than demand and the market provide. And those who invest their money instead of squandering it should not be ostracized for making the right decisions and making a lot of money with them. On the contrary, it deserves both applause and reward. The parable of talents can also be read in this sense: the two who invested their talents and were able to double the capital employed are praised by the Lord, while those who bury the talent and bet on safety instead of risk are punished . So it is ethically imperative that entrepreneurs with their productive capital (private wealth is something completely different) keep a cool head and orient themselves to the economic logic and not endanger the company and jobs with a warm heart. Seeing and saying this clearly takes a little courage - but that is definitely a Christian virtue. The state The demarcation between the public and the private, the collective and the individual, is decisive for the liberal understanding of order. We all know the famous biblical phrase "Give to the emperor what is of the emperor and to God what is of God". At first, what is often overlooked, was a clear statement in favor of the independence of religious authority from state authority in all questions of morality, belief and cult.25 Then it was 25 Rodger Charles, Christian Social Witness and Teaching 36, 109 but at the same time a fundamental affirmation of the state, if certainly not of an almost limitless and redistributive state. It is doubtful that there can be a convincing justification for the government quota to creep up to 40 percent and more. In the background of this state expansion stands the belief that state welfare services could create a paradise on earth. It is precisely here that the Bible shows a great sense of reality. In the story of the fallen man who works in the sweat of his brow, the imperfection, limitation and need of man in the world is shown. It is not characterized by abundance, but by scarcity. This truth, which is constitutive of the world, cannot erase any illusion of the welfare state. The most common terms used to justify the expansion of the state are common good and community. In this view, the state embodies the common good. On the one hand, Christianity has developed precisely as a demarcation from a given local or religious community and its understanding of the common good, as a group of people who - each and every for themselves - have individually decided on this new religion and have joined the community .26 On the other hand, the common good was not determined from above, it was not a predetermined size, but it developed through the interaction and discussion of the many individuals and their different interests. Standing up for the common good does not therefore require the uncritical affirmation of the expansion of the state, but the recognition of dynamic, uncontrolled market processes as producers of the common good. There are several reasons for limiting the state quota and thus the intervention of the state in private property. First of all, there is of course the argument that it is an encroachment on the freedom, the control of the individual. Secondly, there is the so-called “tragedy of the commons”. The Pauline concept of Christ calls into question the ancient conviction that people are subject to an unchangeable order or “fate”. Paul's vision on the road to Damascus resulted in the discovery of human freedom - a moral agency that is potentially open to every single person - that is, to all individuals. This 'universal' freedom with its moral consequences was fundamentally different from the freedom enjoyed by the privileged bourgeoisie in the polis. [...] The argument that all people can become 'one in Christ' - and that all have the opportunity to partake of God's righteousness - shows that Paul introduced a new abstraction into Jewish thought. This abstractness contributed to the fact that Christians understood the community as a free association of morally equal actors […] »Cf. Larry Siedentop, invention 78. 110 de» 27 (tragedy of the commons), the experience that what is not in in private hands, is usually not so carefully looked after. And finally, thirdly, that which is in private control is the basis of Christian virtues such as charity, hospitality or generosity. Every pushing back of the private means a pushing back and suppression of these virtues. According to the subsidiarity principle of the Catholic social doctrine and according to many statements, also in Centesimus annus, the state has to remain in the second member, because it should not kill free initiative and, for example, not suppress individual charity. Rather, it should limit itself to pure framework legislation, to laws and rules that apply to everyone.28 Today, this is often, too often, forgotten in statements made by church representatives. Then there is the crux of the subsidiarity principle: When is the lower level overwhelmed? When should and must the state step in? That needs to be interpreted and is prone to abuse, unless subsidiarity is clearly defined as a delegation from the bottom up, as it should be. Finally, an important correspondence between liberal and Christian thought is that in both the Jewish and Christian traditions, God is the supreme sovereign, the source of justice and justice. Thus everyone is subject to this law and this justice, including those who embody the state, including the rulers.29 This also fits with the idea of ​​the Public Choice School that politicians and state employees do not think and act differently from other people. And this also means that no special laws are enacted if possible, but only those that apply to everyone. Justice The churches' insistence on a fair distribution of income and wealth sometimes gives the impression that they lack any understanding of the production that precedes each distribution Confuse righteousness. Which income spread should be just and which should be unjust? The fact that very large inequalities in distribution can lead to social tensions cannot be denied - but that says nothing about the ethical justification of these inequalities, it simply points to Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons. 28 Cf. CA 48. 29 Cf. Robert Sirico, A Moral Basis for Liberty 13. 30 Manfred Spieker, Ordnungspolitik und Catholic Church 757. 111 on social dysfunctionalities. It is clear that the permanent search process of every free market economy must lead to unequal incomes and wealth. Certainly there is abuse and there is the social or regulatory exclusion of entire minorities, these are injustices that must be categorically rejected. But even very different incomes as a result of differences in talent, effort, luck and demand for what one offers are not an injustice in a veritable constitutional state, but the natural accompaniment of a dynamic economy. On the other hand, what a rich society should prevent for ethical reasons is veritable poverty, i.e. absolute poverty. And that can only be achieved by the market economy, not socialism, but also not the modern welfare state that redistributes, promotes claims, punishes performance, suggests economic security. In Centesimus annus it says very aptly: “The supply state, which intervenes directly and robs society of its responsibility, triggers the loss of human energy and the inflation of the state apparatus, which is governed more by bureaucratic logic than by the efforts of the recipients to serve. This goes hand in hand with a tremendous increase in spending. " Benefit from a competitive regime - not in absolute numbers, of course, when you consider how much is earned at the top and is often skimmed off, but in relative numbers - mostly those who earn little. The marginal utility for these people is likely to be the highest. The fact is that the standard of living of the lower classes has improved massively; the bottom 10 percent live better today than the top 20 percent 100 years ago - not least thanks to the market economy.31 5. Realism versus utopism A decisive conflict between market economy thinking and the economic understanding of many church representatives has undoubtedly been in the inadmissible transmission of the ascendant image of man and the eschatological expectation of salvation on our earth.32 In this context, economists speak of the nirvana or paradise approach. Nobody, even 31 See Angus Maddison, The World Economy. 32 The following considerations largely follow an earlier text of mine. Cf. Gerhard Schwarz, Die Freiheitliche Wirtschaftsordnung und der Katholizismus 33 ff., Esp. 35.38–39. 112 not the most convinced market economist, denies that the market economy is an imperfect order. But one should not think that one can somehow completely perfect the results of the market economy through interventions. Augustine already criticized those Christians who tried to press society into what they believed to be an ideal model. It is better to create the space in which they can behave as they see fit. This rejection of utopian thinking deserves a renaissance.33 In this sense, more is to be desired for the church representatives: • First, the modesty to accept that much in the real world has to remain unsatisfactory, that the kingdom of heavenly justice is not of this world . Second, the realization that economics is so complex (the great Max Plank once said to John Maynard Keynes that in earlier years he had thought of studying economics but found it too difficult34) that interventions in the System takes the greatest risks and then shouldn't be surprised at the many “unintended consequences” 35.• And thirdly, the insight that an order in which the distribution and use of income and wealth are strongly politically controlled is not more just, less wasteful or more oriented towards real needs than a liberal order. Unfortunately, there is a certain unreality about many normative statements by church representatives on questions of the economic and social order. Insisting on a perfectly just economic order based on a morality that is much higher than the average, according to people - according to Blaise Pascal "ni ange, ni bête" - is a mistake in thinking. But even worse: it harms freedom and the market economy. Unfortunately, many convinced Christians make their contribution to this. Christian values ​​like charity and Caritas as elements of the way of life are one thing. A market economy and a liberal political order that leave room to live up to are the other. This is an excellent symbiosis, not a contradiction, but only if the churches 33 Cf. Shirley Robin Letwin, [on “The Pope, Liberty and Capitalism…”] 5–7. 34 Cf. John M. Keynes, Essays in Biography, London 31951, 158 (translated by WAJ and GS), quoted from: Walter A. Jöhr / Gerhard Schwarz (eds.), Introduction to the Philosophy of Science for Economists 218. 35 Deepak Lal, Unintended Consequences. 113 concentrate on the conduct of life within the framework of these orders, instead of supporting those who tinker with the constructivist perfecting of these orders, designed by a central spirit, and who believe that this will promote morality. Unfortunately, many of the churches' affirmative statements about the market economy are not meant in this way, but rather suggest fraudulent labeling. Most of the time it says, as in the encyclical Centesimus annus, which is sometimes overinterpreted as the capitalist manifesto of the Catholic Church, that in principle one is very much in favor of the market economy, but only under very many restrictions and conditions. Then follows a whole catalog of points of criticism. This is about as credible as a - in principle - declaration of love to a woman, supplemented by the remark that she is just not sufficiently beautiful, intelligent, sporty, hardworking, sociable, etc. It cannot be assumed that any woman would be very convinced of such a declaration of love. Christianity is not only compatible with a heavily modified, socially smoothed market economy, but also with a fairly consistent, little watered down market economy in the sense of ordoliberalism. In their criticism of capitalism, the churches also tend to mix two levels, the ideal level and the real level. On the one hand, they criticize the consistent market economy on the ideal level, i.e. in theory, and, on the other hand, they blame the evils of the real market economy from an excess of market, although real orders are characterized by their nature by numerous compromises and deviations from the model, i.e. everything else than are consistent. If the churches both understood and accepted how markets work, they would recognize that with more market many (not all because we do not live in Paradise) of the evils they complained would be remedied and society would move closer to the Christian ideal. 6. Bibliography Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, State, Society, Freedom, Frankfurt a. M. 1976. Karl Brunner, The Perception of Man and the Conception of Society. Two Approaches to Understand Society, in: Economic Inquiry, Vol. XXV, July 1987, 367–388. 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