Fr. Heinrich Pesch, S. J. and the importance of the family in fostering and preserving the mutual interdependence of the individual and the national economy



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In contrast to the isolation caused by economic individualism and the absorption of the individual within the community in socialistic collectivism, Fr. Heinrich Pesch outlines an alternative system of economics which he calls “Solidarism.” Within this system, neither the individual nor the community are seen as the ultimate purpose and end of the economy, rather, there is an understanding that the individual and the community mutually benefit, and are interdependent upon, each other. At the heart of this mutual interdependence is the family, the seed of society and original economic unit. Although the family has been replaced by enterprise as the economic unit, Pesch argues that the family maintains its importance within the national economy since it is within the family that men first learn and practice the solidarity and mutual interdependence that can and ought to imbue the rest of society. Whenever the family is fragmented by individualism or is further dissolved by socialism, the national economy suffers, the individual becomes disenfranchised, and society itself loses its cohesion. The national economy ought always to look to the benefit of the family and where it fails to do this it has undermined its own purpose.



Heinrich Pesch, Solidarism, Economics, Family, Solidarity, Community