How should Christians understand—and what should they learn from—the worst economic downturn since the Depression? Does the crisis raise fundamental moral or theological questions about our economic system? Four scholars offer their reflections in this issue of the Century: Dennis P. McCann, Jon P. Gunnemann, Deirdre McCloskey and D. Stephen Long.
The events of the last two years have been humbling—even for New Yorkers, a breed not easily humbled. When I first moved to Manhattan, I was often startled when someone offered a complimentary comment about another person, saying that he or she was “really smart.” The pride that went before the particular New York fall was, more than any other human frailty, our peculiar brash pride in putative cleverness, savvy and smarts. Now there is no escaping the embarrassing fact that a lot of very smart people in New York never saw the present economic crisis coming, and that many of those smart people had been participating in the foolish decisions that contributed to it.