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In this paper, I argue that Gaudium et Spes is an extraordinarily optimistic document, which while it seriously misread the economic future, powerfully reiterates the central social teaching of the Church. Human beings are fulfilled as persons through their membership of the community and the State exists to promote the common good. The vitality of the document is reflected in the principles it enunciates about the nature of human beings, their relationship to one another and to their common humanity. The aim of economic activity is the fulfilment of persons, not the accumulation of wealth and in making this claim, I argue that the document is radically at odds with contemporary libertarian conceptions of the human person and the economic rationalist agendas of both business and government.


School of Philosophy

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