economic exchange, that I will set out to critique. I am not arguing, of course, that we can ever entirely escape the pressure to produce. Jekyll in Stevensons famous story, he tends to claim more teamwork and individual work essay and more of his host, who thus increasingly thinks of himself spontaneously as a rational profit-and-loss calculator even outside the marketplace. Subjectivity includes a real interiority, of course. The reason for this unreliability, I am arguing, is that the cheap goods in question are cheap only for the individual consumer at the moment of purchase, but not for society as a whole. I acknowledge, of course, that there is no such thing as homo economicus in the pure sense. This essay appears in Second Spring and in Wealth, Poverty Human Destiny (ISI Books, 2003) and is reprinted with gracious permission.
What liberal economics misses, however, is that the real self, the only self that actually exists, is one that is always already a gift to itself. True, there is a certain impersonal necessity to the interplay of supply and demand; given an overabundance of tennis shoes with respect to the demand for boots, for example, the price of tennis shoes will indeed tend to drop without any concerted effort on the. But, as I will argue below, a freedom indifferent to the objective good of the person is actually an unfreedom that leads to a coercive social order. Liberalisms illiberal order, much of the excitement that the neoconservatives have generated among Christians is due to their promise to overcome the split between the Gospel and culture that has bedeviled modern Christianity, especially since the Enlightenment. This need translates into a kind of slavery to work, which can be accompanied by a certain asceticism far removed from greed.