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date: 29 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Economic theory and practice often seek — either explicitly or implicitly — to maximize the common good conceived as the aggregate satisfaction of individual preferences. Christian ethics, of course, considers the common good, but always in its relationship to individual human dignity, not merely in relation to individual preferences. The commonplace assumption that Christian views of human dignity and economists' efforts to maximize the common good are incompatible should not surprise us. This article challenges that assumption and argues that the increasingly authoritative use of cost-benefit analysis for evaluating public policies and practices can maximize respect for the equal dignity of persons.

Keywords: Christian ethics, economic theory, cost-benefit analysis, human dignity, common good, public policy

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