Two contrasting traditions of political economy have appeared in the Western Hemisphere--the recent "liberation theology" in Latin America and the earlier "natural system of liberty" in North America. Although North and South America were discovered at about the same time, the two continents have from the beginning followed divergent philosophical and theological paths, which have profoundly affected their development. Yet, the two Americas have seldom been studied together--either empirically or in their philosophical or theological predispositions. This collection advances the emerging discussion.
This volume includes Juan Luis Segundo's classic statement of Latin American liberation theology, as well as Ralph Lerner's essay on the philosophical sources of North American ideals of liberation. There are also five short descriptive essays by Latin American specialists who address problems of poverty, reform, and development, in the context of current theological arguments. The concluding essay by Roger Fontaine exemplifies the doubts about liberation theology often expressed by North American Christian laymen.
Michael Novak is the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at AEI.