Social equality in recent Catholic social thought
This dissertation represents a contribution to the field of Christian social ethics and, in particular, to recent ethical analysis concerning rising inequalities within the global political economy. It draws upon the moral thought of César Chávez, the late Catholic farmworker leader, along with philosopher-economist Amartya Sen, to encourage a further development and foregrounding of emergent egalitarian arguments within recent Catholic social teaching (CST). In short, this project contributes to the formulation of egalitarian ethics that attend to the needs of the world's most exploited and excluded populations, those who are "fenced in" by political and racial statuses that engender deprivation within both dominant and marginal states. Equality among persons receives greater priority than equality between states, though the author does not view equality among persons and equality between groups as impulses that are necessarily mutually exclusive. This project finds broad agreement with Amartya Sen's approach to development. The author argues that human capabilities (not income or some other measure of human well-being) are the proper object of social justice, and that it is equal capability that those with egalitarian concern ought to pursue. However, the author argues that equality in the distribution of capabilities ought to be prioritized over the aggregate production of capabilities within groups, a question that Sen leaves for others to debate. Additionally, the author argues that a global human society is the proper scope of ethical concern when evaluating disparities in human capability. This project represents a person-centered and transnational approach to equality whereby a global community is the proper scope of ethical concern. Thus, the author contends that a transnational equality of human capability is the proper end of advocacy for social justice.