Revd Peter Grimwood, (a trustee of Green Christian) writes:-
Some recent reading for Joy in Enough
Here are four titles that have influenced my own thinking about the relationship between Christianity and economic policy and practice.
Do we need economic inequality? (The Future of Capitalism), by Danny Dorling, October 2017. Polity Press, ISBN 978-1509516551, 140 pages. RRP £9.99 (paperback)
Danny Dorling is a social geographer from Oxford University who has written provocatively and persuasively about inequality in the UK, often with particular reference to housing policy. This is a real page turner. There are many recently published titles about inequality. My advice is to start here.
Utopia for Realists, by Rutger Bregman, March 2017. Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1408890264, 316 pages. RRP £16.99 (hardback)
Another page turner about economic and social policy. The writing is very accessible and full of fresh ideas, many of them counter-intuitive. Of particular value was the chapter on universal basic income which is an idea that has gained support across the political spectrum and yet has divided progressive left wing opinion. A good title for book groups.
Economy of Grace, by Kathryn Tanner, June 2005. Augsburg Fortress Press, ISBN 978-0800637743, 144 pages. RRP $17.00 (paperback)
Kathryn Tanner is professor of Systematic Theology at Yale and the 2016 Gifford Lecturer, when her title was Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism. You can watch these on YouTube. Bernard Lonergan, a distinguished Catholic theologian, once said that if you care about the poor, then study economic theory. I would add that if you want to criticise economic theory and policy as a Christian, then you need the help of theologians and economic historians. R H Tawney fulfilled this role for a previous generation and Kathryn Tanner is doing something similar for this one.
This is a quite a tough read, but it should be required reading for those Christian critics of capitalism who wish to integrate concepts of grace and unconditional giving into the market system to which we have become accustomed.
The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics, by Kelly S Johnson, May 2007. Erdmans Ekklesia Series, ISBN 978-0-8028-0378-8, 248 pages. RRP £10.99 (paperback)
A very useful and eloquent statement about the relationship between Christian ethics and economic theory. Kelly takes our fear of beggars and looks at it with great insight and academic rigour. It should be compulsory reading for Franciscans, for the ideas and practices of St Francis are discussed, as well as more modern practitioners such as Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin.
I need to re-read it but I gave my own copy away a few years ago. A parable perhaps!