Law, regulation and economic life – from “how much regulation?” to “who regulates?”

Catholic social teaching has a lot to say about the basic systems of law that should underlie a flourishing business economy. In recent years, Catholic social teaching has also commented on regulation. Although a distinction between law and regulation is not made explicitly in Catholic social teaching, such a distinction is helpful. It would help clear up confusion between the role of government in regulating economic life (where prudential judgement might be applied both in relation to who regulates and how much) and the role of government in providing the basic framework of governance.

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The late scholastics and globalisation

Salamanca

While the understanding of Catholic social thought as a structured and articulated body of thought is relatively recent, its roots go back much further. The work of St. Thomas Aquinas is certainly pivotal in this regard (and merits its own analysis), but in several matters the first consistent reflection on applied global economic and social issues from a Catholic perspective ought to be credited to the late scholastics and particularly to the so-called School of Salamanca.

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