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Family and Motivation

The household and inter-generational economy

1. Marriage and Children

2. The Formation of Persons
3. Household and Market
4. Public service and charity
5 State compensating for family failures
6. Motivation, reproduction and demography
7. Future orientation

We all need a motive. We need a reason to go out to work and to meet

new people and to buy or sell. We can say two things about motives. The
first is that we do things for the recognition of our peers, so it is our hope
of acclaim that sends us out to meet people and to work. And we do it for
love, that is, for the love of those particular persons we come home to.
We have a motive. Out in the wide world our motive is public recognition
and acclaim. In the private world of the household our motive is love.
Since it is the household that produces the people who make up the public
economy, this means that the concept of love is essential for economics.
Modern economics does not give much consideration to our motivations. It
talks about desires or preferences, but does say how or why this particular
set of preferences are ours, nor acknowledge that it is these two sorts of
love that drive us to act. It cannot explain why we individually do the
things we do. But more importantly it is therefore unable to explain why
we do things – bring up families – that create a new generation and so
renew the economy into the future. Modern economics cannot tell us why
the economy continues on from one generation to another or identify what
makes it difficult to do so.

Love gives us motives. It gives us reasons to take the new initiatives. It

makes for generosity and self-giving in service. Love requires freedom.
Only freedom, motivated by love or hope of glory, allows us to take the
risk of a new initiative, start a new relationship and enter a new
covenants. It is fundamental to our dignity to our communal life, and
fundamental to business, that that we can take the risk of committing
ourselves to some other person. We can take the first step. We may start
families. What the family does for its own members, it may then begin to
do for others; it may extend its own intrinsic generosity outwards and be
neighbourly. When its outward service becomes big enough, we refer to it
as charity, and if this service continues to grow because people offer to
pay for it, it has become a business. Many firms started as family
businesses, because a husband and wife or some other combination of
family members, found that the family’s own provision for itself stretched
first to include the neighbourhood and went on to attract paying
customers. The initiative that started a family may go on to offer a service
that becomes commercial. In this chapter we are going to examine love as
the source of our economic motivation, and then in the following two
chapters we will look at the concepts of public recognition and the
confidence as sources of that same motivation.

1. Marriage and the arrival of children
You fall in love. You fall in love with this one particular person. You desire
to be with them, and if you are lucky, they desire to be with you. The
desire that brought you together can also keep you together. The desire
of men for women and women for men can turn into an unlimited, life-
long mutual-giving. If men and women desire and love each other enough
to marry, it is because they understand their marriage as a both a one-
time and an ongoing gift. Having given yourself to this one person, there
is then nothing else that you can give in the same way to anyone else. It
is the possibility of giving our lives to something specific, and thus the
dignity of taking the risk that we might be throwing them away, that
makes it possible for us this marriage to hold. Each covenant of mutual
service and subordination is a permanent gift of two persons, one to
another. Because it contains this element of venture this covenanted form
of love secures that this relationship is based in freedom.

Children as first product of the economy

What is the difference between marriage and other sorts of relationship?
Any fleeting relationship between a man and woman may result in a
pregnancy and the birth of a child. But every child would prefer this
relationship to be a deliberate, long-term, even permanent one. No child
wants parents who cared so little for one another that there was no
intention to develop their relationship. Marriage is the recognition by both
parties that they value their relationship and intend it to last in the way
that any child would want and thus it is the formal recognition that a child
may come. Marriage is the recognition that a third party may be created,
and that this is not just the biological phenomenon of foetus or infant.

From conception to adulthood, this child deserves a respect, love and

service. They may expect to be brought up by the woman and man from
whose bodies they come, and hope for their love and service without
time-limit. Children can fairly make this demand that those who begot
them remain with them, and help them through all the challenges of life
that follow. They can demand that you stay together, for them. Marriage
uniquely intends to serve its offspring all the way up into adulthood,
providing these children with security in which their own readiness to
receive and enter covenants, and their own generous individuality, may
develop. Children are, from their very first beginnings, rights-bearing

Marriage is public. It exists for the sake of those outside it as well as for
those within it. These two persons do not marry themselves, but are
married by those who act for the entire society when, following the forms
given in law, they pronounce these two persons married. This marriage is
brought into existence by the public event, constituted by the
confirmation given by the witness of that public. The witnessing public
stands surety for this marriage. It is to see that if one party defaults on
the contract, he or she bears the consequences of its breach, as they do
for any other breach of contract. Having married them, according to the
contract enacted in these forms, neither this society nor its
representatives can change this contract. It has merely been witness to

and as far as possible guarantor of the contract of these persons each to
the other.

The society that concedes that humans may be covenanted beings will
understand that marriage is distinct from every other form of relationship.
Marriage serves the bearing of children. In order that there be children,
and that those children become adults, a society must value the
institutions that secures the conditions which encourage children and
which enable children to become mature persons. For the sake of the
children who will allowed to develop into persons through it, and therefore
for the sake of the production of new generations and thus for its own
continuation generation by generation through time, society must honour
marriage. The society that does not like the idea of specific permanent
interpersonal relationships minimises the distinction between those who
are dedicated to the creation of the next generation, and those who are
not. The family is the ‘best means we have yet discovered for nurturing
future generations’.1 Marriage is the best means of securing for the long-
term the love that, by sustaining the family, serves children, the view
given its first extended articulation by St Augustine.2 A marriage is not
simply the expression of the love of these two people. Marriage is distinct
from love. It is not dependent on the feelings of these two for one another
at any one time but is the vehicle that enables them to survive the
vagaries of love, to control and master their feelings and through doing
so, to grow.

The public benefit of marriage

Children may expect to be brought up by those who begot them in the
first place. Families that do not exist around a marriage, either because
there was no marriage or because it has broken, represent less than what
we would wish for these children. A family in which only one parent is
present is not just as good as one in which both parents are present. If
one parent dies the family is bereaved. If one parent leaves the
household, each child, and the remaining parent suffers a form of
bereavement, and the child experiences a breakdown of the constancy
and continuity of relationship that each of us may hope for, even into
adulthood. All children in all families benefit from constancy of husbands
and wives in the marriages and families around them. The children whose
parents have broken up have been let down and those whose parents
never lived together will hear the nagging question of their own self
worth. Did he not want to stay around because he did not consider me
worth staying for? Such disappointment and doubt has to be
acknowledged as such, rather than being taken as unavoidable.

Marriage is an act of public responsibility and of generosity, not only for

the children that emerge from it, but also for society as a whole. It
represents the possibility that self-giving can be permanent and all benefit
from the stability and constancy that such intact families represent.
Marriage is a ‘commitment technology’.

Jonathan Sachs Faith in the Future: The ecology of hope and the restoration of
family and faith (1997) p.23
Charles Reid ‘The Augustinian Goods of Marriage’

To escape the compelling immediacy of the present, it is necessary to
lock in the future, by means of ‘commitment technologies’. These are
costly. As an array of internal disciplines they take time to build up by
means of education and experience. 3

We must distinguish marriage from all else. There must be a prejudgment

and a prejudice in favour of it. More than any other institution, marriage
keeps people out of dependency, keeps their morale high and prevents
them from becoming a burden on public resources. Their marriage
ensures that a husband and wife are less likely to call upon the state to
support them. Though all welfare benefits are an attempt to compensate
for its absence, nothing substitutes for marriage. Society is sustained as it
succeeds in persuading people to marry themselves to their society’s
future, dedicating themselves to its continuation.

All human encounter and interaction is based on the permanent public

encounter of man and woman in marriage and on the family that it
creates. It is only because marriages can result in children, and all society
depends on these children, that ‘society’ and government has an interest
in the various forms of relationship that bring men and women together.
Society must secure marriage because society is committed to its own
continuation from one generation to another. It is for society to secure the
particular form of relationship that best serves the upbringing of children.
Children must be the first purpose of any society and the first product of
any economy. The education and formation of those children to maturity
must be the second purpose and product of that society and economy. In
order that they do not remain children, they must learn to take on the
same commitments in covenants that brought them into existence in the
first place. A new generation must be formed in the virtues of mutual
desire and service; such love and mutual subordination is the glue of
society and the source of the confidence in self-giving that is the motor of
the economy.

Children represent an opportunity for young parents to grow up. Nothing

changes your outlook on life so much as having a child of your own.4 They
are your own stake in the world, directly before you, in their youngest and
most vulnerable time. You watch them and wonder how they will grow up,
and what world they will grow in. Jennifer Roback Morse noticed that neo-
classical economics was unable to account for the altruism of mothers.5
Nothing makes you aware of the future like children, so that, without the
experience of children around us, we suffer a foreshortening of horizon.
Mary Eberstadt notices that the lower numbers of children in Western
European societies means a foreshortening of horizon, and reduced
awareness of our debt both to future as to past generations, and that this
absence of sense of debt was reflected in the decline of religious

Avner Offer The Challenge of Affluence (Oxford University Press) p. 73-4
Janet E. Smith
Jennifer Roback Morse Love and Economics

‘It is not only possible but highly plausible that many Western European
Christians did not just stop having children and families because they
became secular. At least some of the time, the record suggests, they
also became secular because they stopped having children and families.’

The future requires a constant supply of children. When we do not have

enough of them around us, we fail to see things on a long enough time-

Young couples decide to start a family. They will provide for that family
together, and grow in emotional maturity as they do so. That emotional
security secures the family and is passed on to their children who will later
display the same emotional maturity that will sustain their own
relationships. The ability to sustain relationships has to be learned, and
the family is the place in which that learning takes place.

‘Parental affection and family cohesion translate into warm and

cooperative, intact families of origin headed by happily married parents,
and years later, the adult children from such families tended to be high
on expressivity, happily married, with cohesive families of their own.’ 7

Marriage and parenthood matures us and orients us towards the public

world in which our children are going to live. They will not only go to work
but imagine and work for the society that they would like to see their
children inhabit. Marriages bring up children who will be formed in that
civilisation and as adults will themselves be able to desire, love and serve
and enter marriage and other covenants.

A husband and wife who depend on one other, materially as well as

emotionally, have reason to make their marriage work. Should we be
appalled at this mixing of motives?

The goal is not therefore to cleanse intimacy from economic concerns:

the challenge is to create fair mixtures. We should stop agonising over
whether or not money corrupts, but instead analyse what
combinations of economic activity and intimate relations produce
happier, more just and more productive lives.8

Where there is enough incentive to stick with our partners and children,
because we realise the economic and emotional consequences of not
doing so, we grow as persons and come through our difficulties. Marriage
generates high morale and when morale is high more marriages take
place. Marriages create social capital, and economies depend on it.

Mary Eberstadt ‘How the West Really Lost God: A New Look at Secularization’,
Policy Review 143, June/July 2007
Alice Rossi & Peter Rossi Of Human Bonding: Parent-Child Relations across the
Life Course (New York: Aldine Transaction, 1990) p. 491
Viviana Zelizer The Purchase of Intimacy p. 298

‘Because the family is the primary producer of our workforce and of
our citizenry, stress on the family constitutes what is arguably the
single greatest imminent threat to the American standard of living.’9

The family prepares a new engage of economic agents, so beyond a

certain point, pressures on the family threaten the economy too.

2. Family and Household

Family as formative
Persons are the means and the end of the economy. We said that
children are the first product of any economy and that persons, brought to
maturity in the industriousness that created that society, are the second
product of that economy. By industriousness we mean the virtues that
bring about the mutual service that comes from love. The mutual desire
of men and women, each for complete, and thus unlimited and life-long
mutual-giving, is the driver of every economy.

The domestic household is formed around a family. The market is made

up of the members of all such households. The household brings the
market into existence, and the market complements the household and so
they exist in a relationship of mutuality. The public square is the function
of the adult person who seeks his peers; the public square sustains
persons, while that part of it we call the market sustains the bodies of
those persons. The household and public square need each other.

The formation of persons in the unity of love and work

Our family teaches us how to be members of society. Within the family we
learn the unity of the person in mutual love and service. Children are
served by their parents, and may learn from them how to defer to, and
serve, one another. A society can only function when its members have
been taught how to enjoy one another’s company. When we eat together
we learn that consumption is sociable: individual consumption, in which
each of us eats before our own television, does not form a family.

In the household we learn to love and to work at the same time.

Households sustain the ‘most intense relational work that people ever
carry on’, Viviana Zelizer reminds us.
‘That work intertwines intimacy and economic activity so closely that
one often becomes indistinguishable from the other. Household
members feed each other, continue their labor to the household’s
collective enterprises and transfer goods, services, and assets as a
matter of course.10

As parents serve each member of the household, they communicate to

their children the dignity of this service and work. A mother judges which
child needs which resources, purposefully distributing the goods of the
household between its members.11 The distribution of goods take place
face-to-face at meal time around the table, where everyone gets their

Shirley Burggraf The Feminine Economy and Economic man (Reading, MA:
Addison-Wesley 1997) p. xi
Viviana Zelizer The Purchase of Intimacy p. 286
John D. Mueller Redeeming Economics

share of the food and of the attention and opportunity to report back on
the days’ events. The family has to hear and respond to each member,
and the youngest members can re-enact some part of the day’s activities
in play.

The home is our first place of work. The first work is to bring up a family,
for bringing up children is work, though it is accompanied by its own
reward. Work may start in the kitchen, with cooking, clearing and
cleaning. It may continue in the allotment or garden, with looking after
the pets or animals, at the workbench in the garage, or in whatever place
can be found to make experiment with hammer and nails, making models,
mending the bike or tinkering with the car. With the family children can
explore and learn the value of their own town, countryside, and wider
geography. They can take the place in which they grow up as a good place
which they can own for themselves and so that they will be well defended
against the suggestion in their teenage years that the good life can only
be found elsewhere.

Work develops persons. Within the household we can learn how to work
and how best to employ ourselves. The economy is about the growth of
man and so about self-realisation at work. Work is not merely a means to
an entirely unrelated goal. There is a dignity and even a joy in it. It is part
of the integrity of the person and of the family; it can be satisfying in
itself. Work brings motivation and purpose, and so relates to the concepts
of love and gift. We can reckon what we do, our skills, as distinctive to
ourselves, our ends and persons.

3. Household and society

Promises and successors
The economy depends on our confidence in other people’s promises.
When we transact with someone we make contract that has the character
of a promise. Each side has to believe and hope that this promise will be
kept. When the proportion of promises that are broken stays small it is
worth our while to go on making promises and trusting in other people’s.
If the proportion of promises that are not kept became larger we would all
begin to wonder whether it is worth our while to entering a contract, and
the environment in which business is done would deteriorate. As
individuals, we will not always be here to keep the promises we made but,
we hope, our successors will keep those promises for us, just as we
ourselves honour the contracts that our own predecessors made. The firm
continues after you leave, but it has to honour the promises you made on
its behalf when you were its employee.

So for the economy as a whole. This generation has to honour the

promises made by the last, and everyone has to be convinced that the
next generation will honour the promises and contracts that we make.
Business starts to falter as soon as we begin to doubt this. As soon as it is
believed that people are trying to leave this economy, we conclude that
we cannot rely on the contract we have made with them, and we all have
to mark down the value of our contracts. Our present economic prosperity
depends on our absolute confidence in those who are not yet in the job

market, and even in those who are not yet born. Our family teaches us
why we should keep our promises.

In pre-industrial societies, the intensity of obligation is related to

kinship. The family can provide good protection at lower cost than
capital markets, because of the low risk of default. Default is
minimized by the value placed on family regard and the ability of
parents to control bequests.12

In order that we have economic confidence now, we need to be confident

that we will have successors who will honour our contracts. To make the
most basic point first – we need successors. We need children who will
enter the economy at about the time we are trying to make a smooth exit
from it, and we need them in sufficient numbers that our departure from
employment will not create any difficulties. We need children in order to
have economic prosperity. Let us indulge this upside-down logic for a
moment and see where it leads us.

The present state of the economy depends on the future state of the
economy. All present economic figures tell us about the past, but their
significance for the future, for the economy is always anticipating what is
coming up. We identify trends in order to draw conclusions from them
about the future. Economic data tells us what has happened to indicate
the range of possible paths, weighted for probability, in order suggest an
answer to the implicit question of how to prepare for what is going to
happen in the future.

We need young workers to enter the economy and start paying their taxes
and pension contributions in order that we can take something out of that
economy in the form of pensions. But for the last half-century our
‘economic’ rationality and corresponding social policy have been
undermining the production of children. We are unwilling to do the work
we consider menial and amongst the most menial is the work of bearing
and bringing up children. One result is that the population of young people
who are to be our future economic agents is falling.

To increase the size of the present workforce corporations and

governments have encouraged woman to enter the workplace and to ‘get
back to work’.13 But if the long-term continuity of the economy requires
the present production of children so that they can become workers in
twenty years time, to consider the office a more productive place than the
home is to take a self-defeatingly short perspective. What more serious
work is there than producing the next generation of workers? We cannot
reduce the domestic economy in an attempt to grow the outer formal
economy, for this is simply to buoy up the economy of 2012 at the
expense of the economy of 2032. But if we know that there is going to be
a much smaller and more difficult economy in 2032 this impacts directly

Avner Offer The Challenge of Affluence (Oxford University Press) p.84
Allan Carlson ‘Love is not enough: towards the recovery of a family economics’,
in Fractured Generations: Crafting a Family Policy for Twenty-First Century
America (Transaction Publications 2005)

on 2012. All economic calculation is about estimating the future in order
to decide where to put our economic effort now.

The family household as economic unit

The family is an economic entity that combines many forms of output.
There is nothing inevitable about economic functions departing from the
household or about the out-sourcing of family functions, turning the
services into paid-for market services. There is not even greater economic
efficiency attached, if we consider more than the short-term.

‘Families in all societies, including modern market-orientated societies,

have been responsible for a sizeable part of economic activity – half or
more – for they have produced much of the consumption, education,
health and other human capital of the members.’ 14

After looking at Asian peasant life, John Caldwell concluded that ‘the main
purpose of the family was to work hard on the farm, to maximise the
amount of food that could be produced, and, if possible, to acquire more

Robert Netting believes that the family still does this intense economic
and relational work, and that we should consider it an efficient economic
unit. It is not at all obvious that we have superseded the family house
that was in earlier centuries, or still is in ‘under-developed’ parts of the
world our primary economic unit. Netting believes that the subsistence-
model of the family may turn out to be more resilient than any other
economic form to future economic disruption. He suggest that there is
nothing inevitable about the removal of agricultural production from small
households, and that industrial-scale agriculture may not be more
efficient, but rather ‘be a prescription for extensive, declining production,
higher energy costs, more risk and volatility and environmental

What does the old-fashioned, indigenous solution, the smallholder

alternative, have going for it? More specifically, why does the farm
family appear so regularly as the social group that carries on intensive
cultivation? Comparative data now suggest that there is indeed such a
correlation which we may provisionally explain by (1) the effectiveness
of the household in mobilising long-term labour of high quantity and
quality. (2) the flexibility of the household in accommodating itself to
available resources, and (3) the autonomy of the house as unit in
decision-making, economic accumulation, and security, despite
community and state control.16

The family is not only ‘relationally’ and socially efficient, but economically
and environmentally too.

Gary S. Becker A Treatise on the Family p. 303.
John C. Caldwell and Bruce Caldwell Demographic Transition Theory (Springer
2006) p. 4
Robert M. Netting ‘Smallholders, Households, freeholders: Why the Family
Farm works well worldwide’ in Richard R. Wilk The Household Economy (Boulder
Westview 1989) p.228.

Yet for a couple of centuries the market has been seeping into the
domestic household. Its functions have dwindled to a fraction of what they
were, so a married household is now seldom an explicitly economic unity.
The home became the place where less and less happened, as it functions
and the education and even finally the nurture of children was delegated
and farmed out.17

Unless a household holds on to some economic functions, it has no strong

reasons for staying together. Wendell Berry suggests that love cannot be
free, or without consequences. It cannot be merely private and not also
public.18 Though we have considered sexual decisions to be matters only
for the parties making those decisions, so attempting to privatise them, in
reality, the entire community has to bear the burden of those decisions in
one form or another. The costs of failed marriages, and of bearing
children outside marriage are externalised, have to be borne by society as
a whole.
Allan Carlson suggests that it was just a few corporations which, wanting
to keep wages down, got women out home and into the work-place.19 He
points to the effect of state education in weakening the bonds of
obligation between children and parents so that the incentive to have
children because they are your security, pension and future is gone.

When we evacuate marriage of its economic functions, husband and wife

have nothing to bring each other, and it is no longer thought to matter
whether these covenants succeed or fail. For a half century we have
increasingly deferred marriage into our thirties. Disappearing rituals of
courtship have made it harder for men and women to find prospective
partners in the first place.

For most of America's middle- and upper-class youth – the privileged

college-educated and graduated – there are no known explicit, or even
tacit, social paths directed at marriage.20

Marriages fail to take place, while those who marry late have fewer
children. Those with fewer children discover that it is not easy to stick
with this decision to give themselves to this one man or woman, year
after year. Children represent reasons to stay in a marriage and more
children represent more reasons.21 The family gives you motives to leave
the household every morning and to meet other persons in the
marketplace in order to gather the material and social resources that your
family needs, and reasons to come home again. The family gives you
reasons to discover that maturity which enables extended self-giving
without recognition. Those who never start a family have no occasion to
leave adolescence behind. As the proportion of marriages drops, a whole
society becomes a set of de-motivated individuals.

Allan Carlson
Wendell Berry ‘Sex, the Economy, Freedom & Community’
Allan Carlson ‘Love is not enough: towards the recovery of a family economics
(Witherspoon lecture – www.frc.org)
Leon R. Kass, "The End of Courtship," in The Public Interest, 126:39-63, Winter,
Janet E. Smith

We are offered a more urgent love and more instant gratification than the
other members of our family or neighbourhood can provide. The members
of our family compete with the entertainment industries for our love.
Under affluence, novelty tends to produce a bias short-term rewards,
towards individualism, hedonism, narcissism and disorientation. 22
The moment we believe that we are not loved or not satisfied by those
who love us, we become consumers and the things that we are prepared
to work for, the house and car, become substitute children, parents,
partners and friends.

The arrangement of two parents in one household is a massively

economic efficient way to bring up a child. When marriages break up there
is an immediate economic effect that reaches beyond the family itself.
When this arrangement is ended, we are left with a significantly less
efficient way to bring up that child. More of the care of that child will be
financially mediated, as additional care has to be paid for. If the market
enters the household far enough to break up the family, the state steps
in. The entertainment industries cannot sustain this gratification over the
long term for love, which gives us the motivation that is economic, occurs
between particular persons. For this reason we must return to the issue of

Marriage ceases to be public

We used to understand marriage as a public affair. In getting married we
did something that our contemporaries regarded as unequivocally good.
In going to work to support our families we were giving our lives to
something unique and worthwhile, which all society could recognise and

But successive Acts of Parliament and a generation of ‘family law’ have

changed our understanding of marriage from a public to a private affair.
As a result our confidence in marriage, and with it the social capital that is
produces, has suffered a loss.

A new legal regime allows spouses to dismiss one another from their
responsibilities. The no-fault divorce and prenuptial agreement reduce the
degree to which a marriage is worth having, and the commitment of that
couple to making their marriage work. When a marriage breaks up the
personal is replaced by the impersonal and institutional, for another
partner steps in to provide the missing long-term relationship.

When marriage is not regarded as permanent and indissoluble, the state

provide the long-term partnership. No single parent is really alone. They
are then dependent on welfare benefits and the early years nursery
provision. The state becomes the universal husband and dad, and, having
separated themselves from their partner single parents are likely to find
themselves securely married to the state. Now that law and public policy
has made it easy, finances dissolve the familial and social bonds of which
civil society is made. We have by default created a generation of parents
who have been outbid and made redundant, so that their love, presence
Offer Challenge of Affluence p. 74.

and hands-on contribution is not required. Married couples seem no longer
confident enough in their own love to let their covenant hold them
together, take them to work for each other or to receive with contentment
whatever the other brings.

Our taxation policy assumes that living alone is the norm, and living with
your spouse and children the exception. So we have promoted singleness
over life together in the covenant which we can enter freely, and so we
have become dependents and employees of that other covenant that we
have not entered freely, the state. When marriage is no longer regarded
as social capital its connection to the economy is lost.

The challenge to marriage

But in modern societies a more episodic account of marriage is given.
Their marriage is a function of the will of these two partners. He has to
gratify her and she him, today and every day. But their desires are not
formed or disciplined by the marriage. If one of them comes to believe
that their individual desires are better sourced from outside the marriage,
the marriage is over. Society as whole believes that has nothing invested
in it, so is indifferent to it and offers it no incentive or support.

The market has overpowered the contemporary household so that it now

buys in the good and services that it used to provide for itself. Still the
market encircles the family, seeking ways to break what remains of its
autonomy, stimulating the ‘needs’ that each has to provide for in order to
satisfy their partner. When the family cannot resist and husbands and
wives demand what they cannot give each other, the marriage covenant is
broken. When the family breaks up, the state moves in to meet what it
sees as the needs of the individual members of that family.

Individuals or persons?
When society does not understand the concept of covenant, or more
generally that some things are good even though we have been given
them rather than willed them for ourselves, that society will assume that
humans are individuals rather than persons, solely single and only
occasionally and voluntarily dual and plural beings. The government of the
society without covenant will insist that we are primarily individuals, and
that its duty is to rescue us from the inevitable fallout of the covenants we
occasionally attempt for ourselves. Such governments assume that living
alone is the norm, and living with your spouse and children the exception:
their policies will moreover make this normative. But the state that tries
to take over the functions of the family takes on an impossible burden. It
will not be able to prevent itself from constructing a welfare state that
attempts that not only to compensate for the failure of family but which
ensures that families will fail.

Man and woman at war

If men and women are not covenanted persons but solely individuals, they
are not simply opposites, but set in opposition to one another in a
permanent state of conflict. Of these two rival powers, the stronger power
of machismo and patriarchy has to be controlled by the creation of
another power to police them – the state. But such a response to

‘patriarchal’ domination can only another form of domination, only
nominally gentler because identifiable with a set of ‘non-male’
characteristics; the pursuit of a less masculine and hierarchical culture
remains a game of power.
Then the state will by legislation mediate between men and women,
attempting to hold them apart. This is the result of defining them as
fundamental sole and individual, rather than covenantal beings. Then
every gain by one side is a loss for the other, and every gain must be
wrested from the other side. When conflict between the sexes is inherent
with our account of humanity, we create a role for the state to restrain
this conflict. But an account of men and women in which nature creates
an antagonism is deeply troubling.

A feminist politics that does allow for the possibility of the

transformation of men as well as women is deeply nihilistic; it does not
truly believe in transformational possibilities nor the ideal of genuine

Capital may grow as a result of technological development, but it grows

principally as social capital that is, a population that knows how to work
and has reasons to go to work, and which has enough stake in that work
to be creative and take new initiatives.

4. Generosity and public service

Love, gift and freedom
In the economy we can act for the common good. We can show that
independent initiative, that makes for a healthy market and small

Love, giving and charity are essential to the Christian conception of the
economy. God has given us all things; we may therefore live to give. The
primary act of giving yourself is the foundation of all subsequent
‘economic’ activity. The household is the first economy, and the source of
all public service that makes up civil society, which makes a national
culture that is conducive to living well and which commands our loyalty.
The household is the source of all the enterprises that make up the
market, from which we may receive some of the material by which we
may live well. The Church suggests that since the market cannot provide
the entirety of our needs, it should not attempt to provide what
households may provide for themselves and it should not become the
dominant form of the public square. We are called to provide for one
another, for what we provide is relationships offered in love and service.
We do so from our own resources, that which we call our ‘property’. I hold
property in order that I have something to give, and so something to
bring to the common good. ‘All goods are intended for the common good;
the common good is not cared for adequately without particular agents to
assume their own particular responsibilities.’24 The dimensions of this
giving can never be immediately or entirely explicit.

Jean Bethke Elshtain Public Man, Private Woman p. 349
Oliver O'Donovan Ways Of Judgment p. 278.

The modern economy intends to make each act and service entirely
explicit. In the modern economy we refer to work that is paid as
‘employment’; our work is instantly acknowledged and rewarded by that
currency of recognition that we know as money. But not all labour can
receive wages or any other form of public acknowledgement: not all
human effort can be denominated by money or drawn into the formal and
monetised economy. Not everything can be denominated or receive
instantaneous acknowledgement; not everything can be paid, for not
everything is recognisable for what it is now. Christians suggest that work
may be valuable regardless of whether it receives explicit, and thus
financial, reward. There is only freedom of action, initiative and risk-taking
and room for interpretation because some part of our effort does not
receive recognition and reward.

The value of money can only be established by what is not money. We

recognise work that is unpaid as worthwhile nonetheless. Love motivates
all Christian work and public action, whether that take the ostensible form
of charity, or of business or public and political service, or evades public
description entirely, as in the case of prayer and worship. Charity serves,
labours and works and such work is purposeful and it is its own reward.
Each of us is free to identify for ourselves whomever we wish as recipients
of our service and charity: we can give them what we think they need as
we think best. Love gives labour its value, and love gives an economy and
its explicit currency their value, not the other way around. Labour is a
fundamental economic concept only as long as it is defined by a Christian
account of both the cost of that self-giving, and the freedom of that self-
giving. The concept of love, which includes generosity, respect, and self-
giving in service, and the freedom of any human being to act publicly and
generously, to take initiatives and form covenants, is essential to any
economics that is able to consider the trans-generational continuity of a
society and its economy.

Two apparently opposite movements have reduced the realm for the work
explicitly motivated by love. The monetised economy has inveigled its way
into the household and family; the realm of calculation and instant return
has squeezed the little economy of love and self-gift. The other movement
is that the realm of the household, the inner realm, has become the
discourse that dominates the public sphere. But the internal realm has
shrunk from the realm of the family to the preferences of the individual,
so becoming the discourse of individual preferences, with a consequent
relativism, so that we have no means of holding one another to account.

The modern economy tells us that we go to work because we have to. The
brutal givenness of the world necessitates work. But Christians suggest
that we also go to work because are willing to. We work in freedom, as
well as by necessity, and Christians propose, necessity is not more
fundamental than freedom. We may truthfully describe the human
economy in terms of freedom, of self-giving and love, and that this
description is as valid as that other description, offered by modern
economics, that refers to the compulsion of nature.


We can begin our consideration of charity by contrasting two definitions of
poverty. Poverty means first a lack of material resources, and then all
sorts of other resources and the opportunities that come with them.
Christians also understand poverty in this way as material poverty, and
add that material poverty prevents you from acting for yourself and for
others. But the Christians also operate another understanding of poverty,
which we could call ‘poverty of spirit’ which describes the life lived without
the experience of having been forgiven that allows us to forgive. This
twofold understanding of poverty leads Christians to understand that all
humans are poor, but it is merely that some are so in a material and
therefore more obvious sense, others in a hidden (because concealed and
denied) sense. It says that the materially rich may be poor, and even that
they may be more poor. It says that those who are poor may also be ‘rich
in spirit’, and indeed that being ‘rich in spirit’ is consequent on a particular
reception of material poverty, that material poverty may be the prelude or
opportunity for becoming ‘rich in spirit’.

Christian social action is motivated by charity. Charity serves, labours and

works. This work is purposeful and it comes with its own reward. Any
other, more explicit reward has to wait. For Christian charity all
recognition is deferred (or it is not charity). But there is also that other
(secular) work, within the explicit economy, which is instantly recognised
and rewarded, and which earns money. This is ‘paid’ work. All public social
and welfare work is premised on the first understanding of poverty only,
and so it understands only that some are poor and others are well-off.

Christians thank the poor for being the opportunity and means whereby
we can show thanks and give thanks to God. When this acknowledgement
is made, the poor are not trapped into any form of dependency by the
receipt of such charity. What they receive they owe not to the most
immediate giver. It is even a Christian gift to open yourself and become
vulnerable enough to receive gifts, and so make it possible for others to
make their first foray into giving.

Christians receive the charity of God. But that we receive the charity of
God in the act of thankfulness. This act of thankfulness is inseparable
from the act of passing it on. So we thank those to whom we may give,
for in giving to them we are able to acknowledge that we are ourselves
beggars, in receipt of the charity of God.

These functions cannot be entirely delegated. When we believe that the

need of other people is met by branches of local or central government,
there is no requirement on us to respond, no opportunity for us to
exercise this love and generosity, and we are the losers thereby. Then
some part of our relationship with God has been devolved and delegated.
It is the joy of the gospel that the rich are able to meet and recognise the
poor and share with the poor. We are even able to ask for their
forgiveness for the provision we have not made or even because we fear
that they have been impoverished by our policies. We can ask whether it
is us who have made them poor, thereby become materially rich. This
meeting and reconciliation is the possibility of our conversion. Functions
may be devolved , since there are different gifts, they must also be

exercised by all, through our representatives, for all gifts are aspects of
the communion and love that holds us together as one.

Charity, and thus love, is fundamental. Love is without limit, but it may be
denominated, so that it is merely unlimited but also specific and limited. It
is the infinite generosity of God that we live in a bounded world which is
therefore a finite economy, in which we have to decide between
alternative uses of the same resource, and thus have to decide whom to
give this or that resource to. Distribution is perhaps the first economic act,
on which all other more explicitly economic decisions rest. We decide who
can make best use of this finite resource that we have to give, and this is
our own act of responsibility. This means that we have responsibility, and
responsibility makes us responsible, people who are judges, and who
judge for one another for a good that we share with them.

Generosity and welfare

Generosity is the foundation of the Christian conception of the economy
and Christian account of economics. God has given us all things. We live
to give, that is, to pass on what we ourselves have received. We regard it
as good that each of us is able to identify for themselves the person to
whom they wish to give their gift, and to do so. We should not assume
that if we give to this person, it is right or appropriate to give to everyone
who is in that position. Love does not identify sorts or classes of persons.
So when we give this money to this single parent we do not assume that
we should give to every single parent. We do not look straight from the
individual case to the class of persons.

What we give many not be money. It take the form of time spent talking
and listening, eating together, taking their children out in order give that
parent the opportunity to do something else. Through these encounters
their morale may be raised higher than it could have been through a
financial gift. Loneliness is not solved by money. We give them our time
and there is a resulting increase in human dignity, and so they are
confident to start doing the same thing themselves. We give them
something of ourselves: person to person relationship is the basic form of
giving, the lack of which is the true poverty, and which flows of money
can only conceal from us. The giver is rewarded by this encounter as will
as the recipient, and through this act of giving the rich Christian learned
that they are a recipient of the grace of God. Christians do not want
opportunities to give and to receive from one another to be reduced.
When they see a need their first response is not to ask why the state has
not stepped in, for as soon as it does there is no need for individual givers
and receivers, and no opportunity for the personal growth that results.
The Christian faith regards caring as intrinsically rewarding, for through
caring that receives no recognition is an isolating and demoralising,
through caring we may grow in character and become mature persons.
Perhaps Christians have to withdraw from involvement in state welfarism
and support first their own from their own resources, and then whoever
else comes to them.

We can ask whether giving this particular person what they ask will help
not only this person but also all the others who see this act. We can

balance mercy to this person with mercy to all others, that is, with justice.
It may not be a mercy to all others to give this individual what they want,
if it creates additional expectations. The aim of charity is to enable its
recipient to cease to be a burden, to be productive, so that they can be
generous to other and carry the burdens of yet others.

Mercy to the individual must be balanced by justice for the many. We

cannot act in any individual case without creating a precedent and moral
jeopardy. Everyone sees what we do and wants us to act in the same way
in their case. We can always ask whether each act will make for a small
state or a big state. We may always hope to reduce the state by reducing
the demands on it, so that the total tax burden on the population can be
reduced. Then each of us is more able to support individual cases known
to us. It is wrong to burden all by allowing individuals to place unlimited
demands on them. This is moral jeopardy. It weakens the resolve of every
member to society to support themselves in the first place if they can, so
that they may then be able to support others if they can. To act in their
place is to take away the consequences of anything they do and so to take
away their dignity. A new section of the nation may be pushed into
poverty by the taxes that they are asked to pay in order that the state
may support some group that it regards as more needy, of which is simply
more vocal. Centralised support that increases the tax burden may push
into poverty those who were otherwise independent, and by arbitrary use
of power so to relieve one burden by creating another.

‘Thus the social market, as practiced in Europe, requires the state to

step in and provide for those without work and to provide for the
mothers of children who have no resident father. These are inevitable
results of transferring the responsibility for charity from the community
to the state, which is itself an inevitable result of the attempt to make a
humane economy, rather than a humane society.’ 25

In the Christian account we are embodied persons, persons – and yet we

are never merely bodies, or merely sets of ‘needs’, but we are always
person with dignity. The Christian account of poverty does not separate
the material from the spiritual, or the bodily from the moral. Indeed it
regards this sort of separation as moral and spiritually impoverishment
and suggests that we impoverish people when we talk them into believing
that they are primarily a bundle of material and bodily needs. It suggests
that modern economics is moral and spiritual poverty and that it imposes
a spiritual and intellectual poverty on us that comes from its reductive
understanding of man.

The Christian Church is witness to the charity and grace of God, and all
Christian charity is an expression of this grace received. But in United
Kingdom the state now insists on providing an alternative definition.
According to the Charities Act (??) Church bodies in the UK have to
demonstrate that they meet the definition of charity given in the Act.
Charities may not use their own judgment to decide who they should
employ, for equality legislation has removed that power of discretion, so
religious bodies or religious foundations may not refuse employment on
Roger Scruton ‘The Journey Home’, Intercollegiate Review Spring 2009

the grounds that this person does not have enough in common with that
institution’s aims.

How should Christians respond to this new state specification of charity?

Rather than charities, institutions that meet government fiscal criteria for
charities, should Christians instead set up business, partnerships or
worker-cooperative enterprises? Or should they simply run our own
extended households will both commercial and charitable characteristics
but without the formal status of either. This would return to them the
freedom to decide who to employ or rather invite them to be members of
our household. Christians may ask themselves whether they should be
running those organisations that are explicitly recognised for taxation
purposes as charities. They may consider whether they should keep all
their own generous and charitable initiatives in-house, close to the
worship and service of the church. Should churches be applying for state
funding for such social work?26 Surely all effective social work takes place
in small groups with a continuity of membership, or even one-to-one. It is
the lasting personal relationships, chiefly with fathers, that are missing,
the absence of which causes so much misery, reflected in violence. Only
lasting personal relationships, one-to-one, can hope to undo this damage,
and the witness of the whole Church as worshipping body that can point
to their redemption.

The formal economy of the market is not the whole economy of human
interaction. All human activity is based in the human self-giving which is
itself based in the self-giving of God. Not all labour can be paid or
recognised in wages. Not everything can be made explicit. Not everything
can be denominated in money, and so be ‘paid’. We cannot have our
reward made explicit entirely in this life. If we were instantly recognised
and rewarded for everything we do, there would be no freedom of action,
no risk, no room for interpretation.

Household and market make one human economy

Public discussion of the economy is premised on the assumption that the
market is the primary economy. The formal economy in which we are
employees and receive salaries is the true economy, while the inner
economy of household and family is a subordinate or even a merely
metaphorical economy. We could say that it is precisely the other way
around: the family is the base, and the ‘economy’ is the super-structure.
The value of all work that is truly work cannot be formally and explicitly
accounted in the medium of money.

When we insist that the only economy is the formal and monetised
economy, we dismantle the social capital on which the transmission of the
economy from one generation to another depends. The formal economy,
and money, can only denominate what is of penultimate value. What is of
ultimate value is persons. They are the one product without which the
economy will not continue. Our goods and services are of value as they
serve the long-term production and formation of human persons. They

Luke Bretherton Christianity and Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and
Possibilites of Faithful Witness (Wiley-Blackwell 2010)

have value as we use them to denominate the process of becoming
human. Thus when mothers are encouraged to ‘go back to work’ there is a
decline in social capital, from which all economic motivations are derived.
The household and the market are two sides of one economy. The human
economy consists of these two economies that meet and serve one

5. Motivation and demography

Covenant between generations
The British economy is a reflection of British society. We could even say
that the economy is what our society is, and it is an expression of what
other countries and other economies believe our society is. We could claim
to have invented Capitalism in the City of London. The practices of trade
and commerce, and the free flow of information and goods and services
came into existence here. Foreigners brought their savings here not only
because they were confident that it would grow, but that they would be
able to get those savings out again. They believe that there is such a solid
tradition of legal transparency and public accountability here that their
money could never simply disappear. They believe that our society has
been so formed by the virtues of honesty and self-control, that they are
confident of our public ability to hold one another to account. We have the
law and legal system that produces good and impartial unbiased
decisions, as a result of which there are not different prices for different
people. This belief about the economy of Britain is the result of our slow
formation that has resulted from our long exposure to the Christian
tradition that has made us honesty, even when it is not to our short-term
advantage, and honesty is what market transparency and market
efficiency are. Without this tradition of virtues that built a trusted market
here, London would still be just a village on a muddy riverbank.

Recent decades have seen massive worldwide economic growth which

since the mid-nineties seemed to have buoyed up the whole United
Kingdom. But the economic crisis that returned in 2008 is serious enough
to make us ask how much of this growth was real? Has this increase in
prosperity been the result of any growth in our industriousness or
productivity? Along with this ostensible increase in prosperity we have
also suffered a massive loss in the first and fundamental economy of the
family, the economy that reproduces persons. This primary economy is
secured by marriage, the institution that gives us the confidence to
reproduce children and to support them through the long years in which
they become public members of society and confident economic agents.
Could it be that in the last fifty years we have experienced a significant
loss of social capital because we have diminished the institution that
generates it? In order to make sense of our economic situation we have to
examine the confidence and social capital of our nation and understand
these as our long-term economic assets and the source of our more
immediate economic assets.

Old people lend to young people. We have lots of old people who want to
lend to young people, but we do not have lots of young people. We have a
growing shortfall of young people, and this is the reason why we are
experiencing a banking crisis and why, if the crisis goes away this time, it

will assuredly come back again. Now since this conclusion may seem
completely implausible at first hearing, I will take a little time to set it out.
Let us start by looking at the housing market. As house prices rose up we
felt prosperous and confident to borrow, so we have been on a long
shopping binge, that has seemed to grow our economy. We did not ask
whether house prices could continue to rise. They could not do so, for
there are more people in their seventies trying to sell houses than there
are people in their thirties trying to buy them. If there are fewer young
people to sell them to than older people trying to sell them house values
will fall. The security against which we have all felt confident to borrow is
gone and our shopping spree is over. House prices have been fuelling the
whole economy, but houses only represent an asset of rising value when
there are young people to buy them. When today’s thirty year olds are
seventy, there will be still fewer people to sell those houses to, for today’s
thirty-year olds are not having enough children to replace today’s seventy
year olds.

Our economic crisis is an expression of a much more long-term crisis of

demography. No other issue can be seen for what it is until we have
grasped this one. In the UK we talk about demography only in terms of a
coming pensions crisis, but almost no one seems to realise that the
imbalance between old and young people will effect the economy as a
whole. Are we are in denial about this demographic issue because it has
been drummed into us that there are too many people, by those who are
not convinced that man is an unreservedly good thing, or are we in denial
about it because the problem is so huge that we fear that there is no

This present generation has to pay previous generations

acknowledgement and honour. This generation is in debt to all previous

It is clear that rich, well-educated urbanised countries do not necessarily

exhibit replacement level fertility, and many may never do so again.
Consumerism, a focus on job satisfaction, increasing need for dual
incomes, a perception among many young people that raising children is
simply too expensive and a tendency for partnering rather than
parenting to provide the family core are likely to reduce fertility. 27

Is this a covenant broken? Are we betraying the unexpressed hopes of our

parents and their generation? It is your task to present your parents with
grandchildren. When you give them grandchildren you pay them the
public respect and honour that says that all they did in bringing you up
was worthwhile. You value their work and service enough to follow them
in this. If you decline to do so it suggests that you have no wish to do as
they did. Are we even dishonouring them or rendering their lives
meaningless by refusing to bear the children who will be their grand-
children? Have we taken against the very idea of children, other people’s
as much as our own?28

John C. Caldwell & Bruce Caldwell Demographic Transition Theory (Springer
2006) p. 373

Other societies may be confident of our society and our economy to the
extent that we acknowledge and understand the qualities that made this
society good and this economy powerful and do so by not disavowing
those qualities or those generations. We will deal with this in more detail
in Chapter 4.

Marriage and economic covenants

We have said that the covenant of God with man, made embodied by the
Church, enables and secures other covenants. The first of these is the free
entered covenant of a man and woman that secures a new generation. As
a result of this pre-social or foundational social covenant there is society,
and the many other covenants of which society is made up. Each national
society is itself a covenant. And all nations are in some form of covenant
with all others.

The British economy is constituted by two covenants. There is the

covenant of the British with one another, which is reflected by British
domestic politics. And is there is the covenant of the British with all other
nations which are our international trading partners. There is UK GDP,
which is the covenant of the domestic economy. And there is position of
the UK in the global economy, which is the covenant of our economy with
all other economies. It is for all other economies to decide, whether our
view of ourselves is too high, and the valuations of British companies and
UK stock-market are too high. This seems to be what the international
stock-markets and money markets are now telling us. Our overseas
investors suspect that our economy is not young and vigorous but old and
sclerotic, that we have not been investing the funds they have lent us into
new vigorous industrious enterprises, but simply stoking our housing
market and raising our pension and welfare entitlements. If they think
that we have over-valued the forms of trust that constitute the financial
and other services we offer, and so over-valued ourselves, they will sell
our stock and cease to trade in our markets. They will be our judges.

If we do not believe in ourselves and in all the virtues and practices which
have built our common (economic) life, why, our overseas investors may
ask, should they? By running down the social capital generated by the
covenant of marriage, have become so disassociated from one another
that we don’t know how to pay for, or support financially, someone we
love? Have we become so disassociated even from our own bodies that we
despise manual work and don't know how to wield a broom, let alone a
spanner? Our overseas investors will let us know. If we think it clever to
short-cut on the truth, which is what these instruments of financial
leverage and securitisation amount to, those who once thought Britain
and London a reliable and virtuous place may simply go elsewhere, and
our vaulted financial creativity, without financial self-control, will have
ended the whole game. Overseas investors may decide that in these last
decades we have simply been prettifying our national temple so that the
UK economy has simply become a dolls house. It is time to receive our
correction from the global economy.
Steven W. Mosher (Population Research Institute - www.pop.org) Kasun The
War against Population, Conelly Fatal Misconception.

Behind every economic crisis is a crisis of morale. Have we become the
society that individually none of us believe in? We have assumed that the
economy is an independent mechanism with no connection to any other
factors, in particular those social factors that I have linked to covenant, to
confidence and to the readiness of this society to create another
generation and so to continue. We have not made the connection between
economy and morale, and so we been taken by surprise by this financial

Our economic well-being is ultimately a matter of our confidence in

ourselves and in other people’s confidence in us. If this society of ours is
willing to be refreshed by a high view of our calling and responsibility, and
so to re-connect family, labour and dignity it may become a more
confident society, and its members will be confident to initiate their own
covenants with one another. Then they will have reason to serve and to
work, and so to invest in our society and its economy. When we do this,
other people will do so too, and then our economy and our society have a

Our population is not growing. The population of old people is growing,

but seen over the long term our population is shrinking. An ageing
population is experiencing a temporary population rise, and masking a
dramatic future reduction. If on average women have two children, they
replace themselves and their children’s father and the population stays
the same. But in Britain, far from producing 2.4 children, we are
producing less than two. Since the 1960’s the population of Britain has
applied the emergency brake, so we are facing a 4-2-1 problem: one child
will have to support two parents and four grandparents. This is issue is
less obvious in London than it is in any other part of the country. We have
to thank God for all our African and Asian women who are glad to have
children, for without our new arrivals and their families, things would be
grimmer. We must even be glad for those benefits-supported women who
have children without permanent partner, since welfare seems to give
them more confidence than those with partners and incomes. But the
nation has become dependent on people coming in to stave off the
consequences of its own growing childlessness. The loss of the morale
that empowers to give ourselves to one another, and to work and serve
one another in covenants, might have something to do with this.

The society that will not work and serve will not reproduce or persist. We
have lurched into crisis because both the free market has over-valued our
generation, and itself, and the state has over-estimated this present
generation, and over-extended itself.

We have made allowed the discourse of economics, and the promises of

the seamless delivery of greater prosperity without greater effort, to open
a gulf between the economy on one hand and culture and personal
responsibility on the other. The economy is the material aspect of the
sustenance of society, man for man. We are embodied persons: the
economic realm reflects the fact that our bodies require material support.
The Church is confident that it will receive its renewal, so it asks only for

each day’s bread. We must talk about culture because we are embodied
persons, who can receive their recognition and renewal only from other
persons, which is to say from humans formed by the culture by which
they can give each other such recognition. Thus these two discourses, of
economy and culture, may be distinguished, so that each does its proper
work in its own vocabulary, but they may not be separated. Man may
regard himself as unity of person and body, live well before his
contemporaries by referring to the covenant from which his hope is

We have been comparing two accounts of man, one offered by Christian

theology, the other represented by Modernity. One tells us that man can
come into his true identity as, in fellowship with God, he comes into
fellowship with all men and creation, and that he may do this in Christ. He
needs his fellow man to agree who he is and so to affirm his identify. As
Christ is the truth of man, so christology is the truth of anthropology. But
Modernity represents us with that other ‘man’ and alternative
anthropology, in which man is without God, without his fellow man and
without anything that is not himself. This man seeks to be his own source
and authority, and to be the one who can give him the acknowledgement
he needs and so he finds it difficult to concede the claims of beings other
than himself. This economic Man does not realise or concede that he must
give way to his own successors, that man is born and dies, succeeds and
is succeeded; he does not know about any past or future, but regards
himself as without beginning or end. If this man without covenant who is
the outcome of the modern economy, cannot acknowledge love and gift
and so is not able to concede deliberate distribution. He is not able to
concede that what we give must ultimately be ourselves, that we
committed to another, and that how much in terms of goods and services
we give, finally they amount only to our give of ourselves. We may give
ourselves – willingly and freely. But if we do not do this willingly and
freely, we spend ourselves without self-control or freedom, nonetheless.
The man and anthropology of modernity and the modern economy is a
one-generation only phenomenon. Love is the concept that gives us
continuity through time.

6. Market and State against the family

Threats to the unity of the family
Church as public service and underwriter of public service
Independent initiative, healthy market and small government

We have said that the household is the first economy, and the source of
all the motivation and the public service that makes up the second
economy of the market. The Church says that there are limits to the
responsibilities we can devolve without losing our integrity as independent
agents. Governments cannot provide for us what we are called to provide
for one another, for what we have to provide is simply relationship – or
love. This primary economic act of giving yourself is the foundation of all
subsequent ‘economic’ activity.

Marriage is already an act of public responsibility, first for the children that
emerge from it, but also because the husband and wife are very much

less likely to call upon the wider community, through claiming state
benefits, to support them. Patricia Morgan provides a succinct summary:
‘As individuals are disconnected from family, friends, neighbours,
churches, clubs, associations and community networks, social capital is
destroyed, trust evaporates, despoliation and predation spread. These
developments are not simply fortuitous or accidental, but are being
created by government policies that are altering our demographics:
policies that have progressively eradicated the links that bound families
together and communities together, out of indifference or even hostility
to human collaboration, by ignorance or design, these are subverting the
formation of enduring bonds and furthering social dislocation.’29

All human life and civilisation is about learning to defer, that is, to balance
the taking of pleasure with the deferral of pleasure, between having some
now and knowing that there is more to come, so that pleasure is not
merely fleeting and ‘physical’ but also social and lasting. So in order to be
public actors we have to be able to wait and not to resent those who have
what we do not. We cannot be completely compensated for what we have
undertaken or foregone. We may serve one another, acting generously
adult to child, husband to wife, or adult to elderly parent.

Every society has to give its respect to families because only families
produce new generations. The state cannot do so. Society has to give its
public acknowledgement, even express gratitude to, the parents who
bring up children. No children – no society. If society wants to continue it
has to allow those who want to be parents to get on with it. And it has to
allow them to get married, and so enter a covenant unlike any other.
Marriage is time-proven means by which children appear and are brought
up, and so by which society can continue. When the two you disappear off
into your public sphere, you can cordially invite all the rest of society to
make itself scarce, for you are engaged in something that is only for the
two of you to know about. But because the result of this secret moment is
that children appear, society must intend to stand guarantor for this
covenant, put its protection around the privacy and dignity of this
moment, and so secure the institution which ensures its own continuation
[Farrow Nation of Bastards]. Without that private and exclusive moment
between these two persons, there will be no children and society. Every
member of society needs the birth of child who in twenty years time will
be in the job market and paying the taxes and insurance contributions
which will be paying your pension. The society that belittles and the state
that dissolves this covenant is demolishing the social capital that alone
can give us economic prosperity.

We said that the entertainment industries are the first universal mediator
that open a wedge in the family. The corporations create the ‘needs’ and
the monetary economy takes over the functions of the family. When the
unity of the family is dissolved by those desires, the state moves in to
meet those ‘needs’.

Patricia Morgan The War between the State and the Family: How Government
divides and impoverishes p. 15

Over many decades commerce has outbid the mutual service of husbands
and wives, and so monetised the provision that belonged to family life.
Then whenever husbands or wives can no longer pay the market price for
such services, the state steps in to provide for the need that the market
has created. We have outsourced so many of the functions of the family,
but the economy that tries to take over these functions takes on an
impossible burden. No economy can sustain itself by paying some people
to dig holes and others to fill them in again, for the worth of our total
economic output must also depend on what we can sell to other
economies. Since these holes are being dug in the social capital gathered
over centuries, no amount of welfare spending in one generation can
repair or compensate for this moral-ecological disaster. Social capital is
money in the bank, but as soon as it is cashed into explicit money to
compensate for love not given or received, it is gone. Our needs are non-
finite, insatiable, until they are satisfied by love: love is personal and
regards each of us as irreplaceable. When everything is denominated in
terms of money, we cannot know whether to enter services on the debit
or credit side, with the result that money itself suffers a crisis.

Torrent of desire
Businesses may contribute first to their own continuation, there a concern
with profit, and then and thus to wider and more of the common good.
Businesses may promote the common good. But they may equally pursue
that obstruct the common good. Business gets in the way of these two
persons, providing each of them with a myriad reasons for delaying
meeting and staying with the others. It sends each of a stream of
diversions and distractions that hold them up from getting into bed,
forming and sustaining one household. The goods and commodities are
substitute-children. And we have reduced children to goods and
commodities that will alter our public profile, as though our immediate
peers at the office were the true judges of the worth of our children, or of
the (added-value) worth that our children will bring us. Our goods are
there to raise our profile and visibility.

Our society has convinced its men and women into pouring so much of
their effort into clambering up the mortgage ladder that they have been
too busy to have children. Having brought the house, we furnish it with
everything that the advertisers tell us to, as though it were some helpless
dependent of ours. We did this because everyone else was doing so and
we didn't want to be left behind.

‘As incomes rose and consumption increased, more income flowed into
positional income. With rising inequality and stagnant productivity, for
most people rising incomes could only be earned by the family as a
whole (and women in particular) working longer for wages. The price of
positional goods responded.’ 30

There was more to buy. Since we had to compete with everyone else for
these goods, both of us had to go out to work in order to afford them.
This house needs us both to service it, making it scarcely possible for us

Offer The Challenge of Affluence p. 361

to have time off for children. If we are going to have child, one of us has
to compromise on career.

With more to sacrifice and less security, women had fewer children
and had them later. A minority sought escape by ‘downshifting’.
Individually women appeared (on average) to be satisfied the with
bargain, but for society as a whole there are fewer children to replace
aging generations, and a large crisis of dependency in the making.’ 31

Though we bought the house in which to put the children, our little
temples are empty. House and car have become replacement children, the
only things that we are prepared to work for. We have allowed this vast
consumerist display to be taken much too earnestly. We have become
bewitched by novelty. ‘The flow of novelty and innovation undermines
existing conventions, habits, and institutions of commitment. It reinforces
a bias for the short-term.’32

We are so busy because we have to buy a house, because we believed

that that house would function as our savings. We ignored the fact that
everyone was doing the same and that one day everyone would want to
sell that house, and that, if everyone wanted to sell, at the same time and
for the same reason. If this is so, house prices would come down and the
price would get for our house could not possibly provide us with the lump
sum that would secure our retirement. 33

If they cannot resist the torrent of desires that pour in from the
entertainment industries, family members cease to sacrifice individual
desires for family cohesion and are unable to work for one another or
welcome one another’s service. As the family breaks up, the state is there
to provide for each of the individual pieces that have been created. We no
longer need of one another because the state follows the private sector in
to provide each ‘need’ so that it never becomes articulated as the need of
one person for another. The result is that each individual is married to the
state. The state has become the universal mediator, driven to smooth out
all inequalities and with them all the complementarities, by which we need
one another. The state cannot love. But it may exhaust our national
economic resources in compensating for the love that we no longer give.

The State
The state is that set of public servants who intend to serve society by
safeguarding whatever is necessary to its future. The state exists to
protect the economy of the household, and protect and honour the
original event of self-giving that brings the household into being. Marriage
keeps people out of dependency more than any other institution. Nothing
can substitute for it, but everything the state does is a compensation for
it. Where there is not a prejudgment, literally a prejudice, in favour of
marriage, the working of the mechanism goes into reverse. Far from
safeguarding the family and the social capital it generates, the effect of

Offer The Challenge of Affluence p. 362
Offer The Challenge of Affluence p. 358
David Willets The Pinch

the state’s interventions is to promote singleness over the covenant of
two persons.

Any government wants to encourage all those initiatives that make up civil
society, but it does not know how to stop itself from hearing everything as
a plea for its closer involvement.

‘The ministerial civil service state had dislodged civic plurality whose
foundations lay in Christian notions of individual responsibility.’ 34

If we are not dependent on one another through a myriad particular

covenants of family and its extensions in the community and voluntary
and private sectors, we are all dependents directly of the central power.
When the state acts to provide for our need, we no longer need a myriad
of civil institutions, and so no longer need one another. Our public
servants and their ideologists come to assume that there are certain
things that we cannot do for ourselves but which they have to do for us.
The state then offers to lighten our burdens, by saving us from
responsibility and risk, offering a form of salvation, which since it is from
salvation from relationship can only be a false salvation. The nation is
giving way to a mere aggregation of individual victims who attempt to
outbid one another with claims of their neediness.35

All this represents a very low view of man. The language of sin has not
disappeared with the secularisation, but rather in the language of guilt
and blame it has begun to get out of control. It is creating the sense that
we are all so fallen that no relationship of ours can last, or even that
every relationship is so intrinsically exploitative that none should be
allowed to last. The public budget is employed to leach away at marriage,
the one institution that is more basic than the state, in order to promote
singleness over all the covenants of which society and the economy is
made up. The state has paradoxically begun to work towards the
dissolution of civil society.

Neither the economy nor the state is able to produce children, or motivate
people to have children and bring them up. David Coleman suggests that
child allowances had no positive fertility effect; provision of free day care
to working mothers was proving counter-productive, since it required the
employment of still more women, raising the total ‘cost’ of children.36 This
covenanted entity, the family, alone contains reasons why a man and
woman should subordinate themselves to this new generation, and so it
alone produces new generations and safeguards that society’s future. If
business and state do not deliberately set out to support the family,
conscious of that the family is a fundamental good, they begin to militate
against the family and so against the production of children. We said that
utilitarian economics is in denial about history: it proves to be in denial
about the source of the future as a result. Considered alone, apart from

Frank Prochaska Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain: The
Disinherited Spirit p. 150.
David Green We Are (Nearly) All Victims Now.
David Coleman

their responsibility to this covenanted entity, economy and state can only
throttle the future and so bring themselves into crisis.

State dissolution of individual covenants

The integrity of marriage – by making marriage private, an individual
option, removing the public character of marriage (so that it is formed by
three parties, not two), the state has taken away our ability to create and
sustain covenants, so making nothing we do of very much consequence,
and so removing the greater part of our own motivations. Though it may
not intend to, the state has been dissolving the family. The state has been
captured by a class of administrators who are not sympathetic to married
couples or the family. Legislative changes bring about cultural and social

‘The law is a teacher. It will teach either that marriage is a reality in

which people can choose to participate, but whose contours people
cannot make and remake at will, or it will teach that marriage is a mere
convention, which is malleable in such a way that individuals, couples,
or, indeed, groups can choose to make of it whatever suits their desires,
goals, and so on. The result, given the biases of human sexual
psychology, will be the development of practices and ideologies that
truly tend to undermine the sound understanding and practice of
marriage, together with the development of pathologies that tend to
reinforce the very practices and ideologies that cause them.’ 37

The concept of relationship is absolutely basic. We are loved by God, we

have been brought into covenant with him, and through this covenant we
sustain many other sorts of covenant with all other human beings. Each
married couple represent a covenant, with each other, with their children,
and with their society. Each household comes into relationship with all
other households as they meet in the marketplace, trade and so form an
economy. Each household is judged and assessed by every other, and so
by the market as a whole, and our national household is judged and
valued by global markets. We live in the view of all our peers: we love
them and we act in the hope that they will love and esteem us more.

But in compensating for marriage’s failures, the state has determined that
there is no difference between married and non-married, that is, between
relationships that intend permanence and those that do not. It is
attempting to obliterate the differentiations and asymmetries between the
covenants that ensure our future and those that do not. To suggest that
relationships which do not produce children are equivalent to relationships
that do is not only an untruth, but it has costly economic consequences.
When the state does not give fiscal protection to marriage, the confidence
that enables us to start families, and other more explicitly economic
initiatives, disappears. If the state taxes small businesses as though they
were big business, confidence to start businesses and employ people also
disappears. The need to comply with government demands means that
larger (and older) businesses are able to crowd out newer, smaller ones,
with the result that the economy is dominated by large corporations, and

Robert George ‘What Marriage and what it isn't’ First Things July 2009

capital has less and less relationship to social capital and the practices of
civil society.

We struggle with one another by claiming that we are the underdog. But
all this has become so attenuated and so effeminised that we are
perpetuating avoiding confrontation and upset, always identified new
categories of person who may be offended that we can no longer say no
to our children. The result is that we have achieved an entirely sclerotic
society in which no one may (widening consensus is seeking permission
from ever widening circles of people and demonstrating that you have
done so by keeping records and so by completing forms into which all
details of all relationships are entered so we have to support ever great
numbers of people to police what we are doing with the result that we
have stasis.

Equality and Equivalence

All our preoccupation with what we do in our bedrooms is as nothing
compared to the new agenda of bringing it out of the bedroom and
promoting it as a new orthodoxy. The society that promotes such
equivalence at the behest of any group is inflicting contradiction on itself.
The logic of such an ideology is that all particularity is rubbed out, so that
we may not love our own family more than others, nor prefer our own
initiatives and enterprises over others. To eradicate ‘inequality’ is to
attempt to obliterate all differences: without check this will become
coercive and totalitarian. Whether the state intends to turn persons in
covenants into uncovenanted individuals who can only relate to one
another through the state’s own mediation, is perhaps a political issue for
one country. But whether the state can pursue this project by consuming
the national product is an economic issue, and therefore an issue which
other economies and the international markets will decide on.

Concerned to avoid confrontation and upset, we identify new categories of

person who may be offended, we widen consensus by seeking permission
from ever-greater numbers of people, demonstrating that we have done
so by keeping records, and employing great numbers of people to do so.
The machinery of compliance that enforces the equivalence agenda is
expensive. Do we imagine that the rest of the world will continue to give
us their savings so that with this standing army we can turn our self-
preoccupation with avoiding masculinity into a public agenda and the goal
of the whole economy?

In modern economic theory everything we do and that someone else pays

for adds to the wealth of us all and adds to the total value of economy.
But not everything we do adds to the real economy. Some things that we
do can discourage and make it more difficult for others to act well. Some
acts works as disincentives so that we do not act freely, taking our own
initiatives, and so acting bravely and generously in the public. We will
forget how to protect one another or how to surprise one another with
spontaneous acts of graciousness. This sort of reduced liberalism, a faint
memory of real liberalism, cannot tell us how to be a man or how to be a

One fundamental factor for any economy is demography. For decades it
has been a given that the populations of Britain and the world are
growing. It is now clear that this is not the case. No declining population
ever had a growing economy. In Europe growth is over, and in Russia and
Eastern Europe, population is already falling back. A population does not
fall back smoothly and gently, for markets magnify these falls so that its
economy suffers a series of crashes. As our population contracts we are
compensating by importing people from other economies.38

Depopulation is a threat to economic growth. We have been compensating

by importing young people from other economies.39 We are in effect
despoiling other countries of their young and educated, the very people
they need to keep. They give up the technical professions for which they
were educated in order to work in packing factories or care homes. Our
ability to tempt them here is what puts the future of Poland and the
Ukraine at risk. This guarantees that our young people will never learn
how to value work, and will not disdain manual work, and that they will
always price themselves out of the economy as some incoming group
works for less. This guarantees that our young people will continue to
disdain low-paid manual work, and so not discover the dignity of all work;
we are de-motivating and de-emancipating our own young people. Such
immigration looks like a form of asset-stripping: perhaps ours is a pillage
economy after all.40

These present financial tremors should warn us that we may not glide
gracefully down from a higher to lower population, or from higher growth
to lower. We may experience these two forms of descent as a series of

Why are we willing to separate ourselves from our families, first from our
own parents and their generation, and then from our own children and
their generation? Are we making ourselves into a one-generation

7. Social Capital
Culture as source of future

In this chapter I have started to suggest that the family is the place where
we learn all the virtues that make us confident economic agents and out-
going members of our society. These are intangible assets. We could say

John C. Caldwell and Bruce Caldwell Demographic Transition Theory (Springer
2006) p. 12. The Industrial system does not need marriage, families virginity
legitimate births or even reproduction. If the birth rate falls too low then
immigrants can replace the native-born.
David Coleman
Rhacel Parrenas The Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization
(NYU 2008) discusses ‘patriarchary and neoliberalism in the globalisation of
care’. p. 16 The increasing migration flow of care workers in globalisation and in
the international transfer of reproductive labor from richer to poorer women in
the global economy speaks not only of disparate interest for women but also of
direct relationships of inequality between them.

that they are illiquid assets, but as we shall see in the next chapter, they
may be made liquid and spent, after which they are no longer available as
the springs of our motivations. We need a clear realm in which we are
motivated by our particular loves, that is, by the love of those very
particular persons who make up our family. It is only our family, our
parents and our children and grand-children, that draw our attention and
effort beyond ourselves and so make us persons whose orientation is to
more than the single forty-year event of their own career, more even
more than the eighty-year event of their own life-span. It is our family
that makes each of us more than a one-generation phenomenon. We are
engaged in the economy for the notional forty years of our career, but
before, after and of course during that career, we are committed to the
domestic household. When no employer will have us, the family is still
there, or may still be there if we allow it to be. We cannot therefore
assimilate and absorb the family economy into the formal economy.

The distinction between these two economies of family and market is itself
sourced in the difference between men and women. Since men and
women are different and need each other, the household and market are
distinct and need each other. Humanity is not homogenous: if there were
one unisex human being, it would have no need or desire or interest in
any other human being. Thus there would be no need to out into public
square in order to discover that other human being. This fundamental,
biologically-enabled, difference gives rise to the mutuality and
complementarity of these two spheres. The difference between these two
economies is dependent (1) on the given (natural, and good) distinction
between men and women, and on the gracious discipling which can take
us towards that communion in which human differences and uniquenesses
are affirmed, redeemed, and established.

Every attempt to diminish the duality of human being as man and woman
only serves to reproduce that duality in the form of the Individual and the
Collective, the individual and the State. Then the Individual becomes the
god to whom all society has to serve and the State becomes the god
whom ever individual has to serve and work for. So we are each of us at
once god and slave, master and servant, consumer and employee.

Here Christians make their response. We say that because there is a

covenant between God and man, there is a covenant between man and
man, and a covenant between this generation and future generations.
Man may take his own initiatives, enter covenants, marry and start a
family, start enterprises of commerce or public generosity. Such initiative
and enterprise, since they require self-restraint, saving, risk-taking and
self-sacrifice, must be recognised if a society is to produce a new
generation. The initiatives that create new covenants do not require any
permission from society as a whole, but simply its acknowledgement: law
and government exist in order to safeguard this sphere of individual,
household and corporate initiative, not prevent it.

If we do not understand persons as covenantal, we lose the distinction

and complementarity of the household and the public economy. Then
there is no reason why the household and public economy should come

together in that lasting way that is secured by a marriage. If society does
not recognise the household as the source of the next generation, there is
no incentive to start one. If society does not recognise and commend new
households and all other forms of public initiative- and risk-taking, there
will be fewer of them. If no one can take a loss, no one will take a risk,
and the result is the stagnation of our inflated social economy. Only our
own freely-entered covenants can give us the motivation to take
initiatives. Since we are not free in relationship to it, the state cannot
motivate us to anything.

Without the covenanted understanding of the human being, our society

sees men and other initiative-talkers as those who have to be controlled
and is investing its energy in doing so. It has created a hierarchy of
controllers and mediators, and a sclerotic society in which no one may act
without them. The Church has faced this situation many times before.
Christians in this country in the sixteenth century had to throw off an
inflated clerical caste that had made itself a universal mediator. Christians
wrenched back into the centre the truth that every human being is directly
before God and before man, and that no ranks of mediators may take that
dignity away. This insistence on the dignity of the individual Christian
reformed the Church and created the national Church of England. Its
understanding of the individual has been the bulwark against the
absolutism and totalitarianism that periodically captures other cultures.
When we despise the Christian faith that bulwark disappears. God calls us
into freedom and enables us to judge for ourselves, enter relationships
with one another freely and take the initiatives that bring benefit our
society as a whole.

The society that does not acknowledge this elementary principle of self-
government does not allow its government to remain within its own
proper limits. Then we are likely to push government beyond its mandate.
If we cannot say ‘no’ to ourselves we do not know how to accept a ‘no’
from any other authority. Each interest group claims to be needy and
neglected: it claims its subsidy and bailout, and no one appears on behalf
of the state to be anyone strong enough to resist. As often as we go to
the government we extend and over-extend the powers of government,
and reduce its real authority and legitimacy, and push government and
society as a whole a little further towards political paralysis and economic

Christians do not encourage anyone to turn to the state, particularly when

excessive demands become pillage of the state. Only the Christian finally
has the resources to prevent himself from making himself dependent on
the state and assimilated by it, for the sake of all others. Christian
discipleship has always made its contribution in resisting this movement.
Marriage and birth rates have tended to be higher for Christians than the
more secularised population.41
Ron Lesthaeghe & Chris Wilson: “Modes of production, secularization and the
pace of the fertility decline in Western Europe, 1870-1930”, in S. Watkins & A.J.
Coale, “The Decline of Fertility in Europe”, Princeton University Press, Princeton
1986 p. 272 ‘Any discussion of the moral and intellectual climate within which
individuals reached their decisions in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

The Church is the community in which all are bound, and so the
community which generates trust. The Church is the place of self-giving
without calculation of return and so it is community which indulges in risk-
taking. When we disregard Christian discipleship, and the community of
the Church that forms us in that discipleship, we have a state that has no
way of reigning itself in. It cannot help stepping in to take responsibility,
and so rendering all of us less able to help one another more locally.

The society that cannot restrain its demands has created the over-
extended state. We have colluded in the general sense that people are
victims and that we are individually powerless to change anything. We can
only change anything by being changed, transformed, by this discipleship.
Christian discipleship converts us from passive consumers, to active
servants, who work and pray. We may exercise our own judgment. We
may decide, for ourselves, and for the benefit of others. We do not need
the government to step in. We do not need funding, or to seek permission
or to establish a consensus. We take the precautions and savings, and
when one of us is hit by trouble everyone provides support. We require
the language of saving, self-restraint and of sacrifice in order to persuade
not to maximise our immediate consumption.

We are in a single covenant because we are members of a single nation,

and our national economy is in covenant with all others, since we subsist
from our relationship with these other nations and other economies. They
decide what value they give to their relationship with us, so it is for them
to tell us what they think we are worth. They may tell us that we have
over-valued ourselves and are now only worth a fraction of what we were.
If we receive their judgment as constructive correction, and take steps to
renew ourselves, perhaps they will continue to do business with us here in
the UK.

Future orientation
In modern, ‘neoclassical’ economics, bringing up a new generation is
conceptualised as expenditure as though it were an item of personal
consumption. Children are not understood as an investment and capital
cost, made by these two persons for the eventual benefit of all. Discussion
of economic exchange is confined to exchanges within this present

Yet children must be the first product of any economy and society, while
persons brought to maturity in the virtue and industriousness that has
created that society must be the second product of that economy. This
virtue and industriousness makes each generation ready to enter those

inevitably revolves around the Christian moral and ethical system and its
transformation. We propose that this moral system can be viewed as an excellent
intellectual adaptation to, and buttress of, the traditional family mode of
production in Western Europe. The intergenerational solidarity between members
of the family, so necessary for the smooth operation of such familial economic
units of production, was a central concern of Christian teaching. The paternal
control of this unit was thoroughly legitimated by the prevailing moral code, for
which the Christian churches acted as guardians.’

covenants which bring a new generation into existence and then to
maturity. There is a covenant and marriage between this generation and
all possible future generations, between the present and the future, but
only those communities that understand themselves in terms of covenant
are able to say so.

We have borrowed to finance our own present consumption. Who have we

been borrowing from? We have been borrowing from our own children and
grandchildren. The economy is just the sum of our acts – and omissions.
Things do not right themselves, because the economy is not some vast
mechanism that turns around on its own. What is required is new self-
knowledge. Some of our fears are well-founded. Only prolonged
examination of the attitudes and behaviour of everyone of us, exposure to
judgment and our repentance, can help us act well and avoid the
consequences of having failed to do so.


1. We are embodied persons. Persons are constituted by other persons,

and bodies are the means by which persons are present to one another.
We cannot be persons without bodies, or therefore without the material
resources by which bodies are sustained and persons formed.

2. We may start families and new households. We may do so because we

may act generously and take initiatives. We may start new businesses and
be an enterprising culture.

3. The vehicle by which one generation enables another to and become

not simply bodies (children) but mature persons is marriage.

4. Marriage is the basis of the many other covenants represented by our

firms and other economic, civic and political institutions. A society needs a
healthy married and private household sector. Marriage is good for those
outside marriage. All persons and households benefit from the confidence
that the constancy of marriages represent.

5. If men and women have a motive to seek one another and having
found, to stay with one another they form a unit and as this unit they are
able to relate in a more generous way to others. To the extent that this
marriage gives them additional motivation, a married member of a
household is able to offer the world something additional.

6. Legislation and courts have attempted to change the nature of

marriage from a public covenant to a private dependent on the moment-
by-moment will of two individuals to remain together. Private sentiment
has driven out public covenant.

7. The society that does not respect the difference and complementary
nation of the sexes and give their complementary roles public recognition

ceases to comprehend or give its protection to marriages. Marriages will
and fewer of them will start in the first place.

8. Marriages take place when morale is high. Marriage generates high

morale. The permanence of marriages communicates a long-term
perspective to civil society. Marriages create social capital.

9. The distinction between male and female is required if we are to seek

one another and join one another and find our relationship in such
complementarities. The reduction of the difference between male and
female towards an undifferentiated humanity means that no human has
any strong reason to seek another human, and without this reason, has
no very strong motive for doing anything else either.

10. We are free to enter unique covenants with particular persons. We can
sustain relationships with particular persons because we are free to give
ourselves, and to receive those who give themselves to us.

11. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, in order to be able to

receive the gift of themselves that the other person wants to give, so that
in this marriage we are truly given to one another.

12. When they give them explicit acknowledgement, market and state can
support our covenants. When our covenants are denied public recognition,
all specific relationships are dissolved over the long-term and our
motivation to enter them suffers.

13. The distinction between the two economies of household and private
responsibility and initiative (private sector) and public (market and state)
is crucial. Economy and household need each other. The public and
economic sphere without the private and domestic sphere is sterile. The
public sphere cannot make children. The household without the outer
sphere is immature: it cannot turn children into citizens. Without
interaction with many other households in the public sphere and economy,
we cannot become public persons.

14. The monetised economy has encroached on the family and domestic
household. As it does so, the realm of the household starts to dissolve.

15. The dissolution of each marriage makes the involuntary relationship

of each of us to the state stronger.

16. The society that does not promote the production of children above
any other economic good will suffer declining morale and declining
population. A declining population is reflected in economic crises.

17. Economics is not just about exchanging because we have to (because

our bodies require what only others can provide) but also because we
want to. We are not forced to trade, but seek each other out willingly and
in freedom. We give. An account of the human economy requires an
account of gift; our account of economic necessity can properly take its
place within this account of gift and freedom.

18. Those who have no faith in eternity will be unable to take the risk of
making themselves vulnerable enough to come into dependence, financial
and other, on a marriage partner. There is a relationship between
religious faith, readiness to bear children and sustain a family.

19. Through expanding welfare we reduce expectations and personal

autonomy, making it more difficult for people to act either for themselves
or for others.

20. If we denigrate the given (biological and cultural) differences and

complementarities between men and women on which marriage depends,
and regard every human as the same as every other, we do not need any
encounter with another human being. Then humans are not many, but
only one. The state is being a meta-human being, into which we are all

21. The two-generation unit (the family) that comprised now and not yet
was the norm. Now the family is a one-generation unit, that is unable to
comprehend or enable what is not yet.

22. We can act for the common good in our commercial relationships. We
can take the initiatives that makes for a healthy market and small
government. Christians produce a distinctive form of public service that
underwrites all other forms of public service and the public square.

23. There are the economies of household and market. And there are the
two economies of primitivism and modernity. Only primitive economies

24. The distinction between the two economies of present (immediate and
finite) and present-and-future (open and infinite) is crucial.


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