free enterprise seek their own advancement.nHe recognizes, however, that thenoperation of free enterprise encouragesnparticular talents and virtues among itsnpractitioners. The discipline, organization,nand, yes, vision associated withnorganizing a productive enterprise in anfree society have enormous potential,ndespite their supposedly selfish motivation,nto contribute substantially tonpeople’s benefit. The spirit that Novaknfinds in democratic capitalism, then, isnan elevating spirit which moves from thenbase origins that might animate somencapitalistic impulses toward human improvement.nNovak would agree withncapitalism’s critics that the marketplacendoes not readily distinguish betweennphilosophy and pornography. He wouldnimmediately add, however, that no othernsystem has demonstrated the ability toncultivate anything in people through thengoods and services that it makes available.nThe system of natural liberty atnleast enables a variety of goods to reachnmarkets, where products that might enlightennthe people are free to competenwith other goods and services.nINovak’s book attempts to fill twonserious voids in contemporary economicnliterature. First, he observes that socialismnretains its status as an “ideal.” That is, thensordid fiinctioning of socialist economiesnhas not tarnished the ideas of equality andnjustice espoused by socialist theorists.nAmerican intellectuals commonly embracena socialism that is remote fromnanything instituted or developed by anyngovernment calling itself socialist. Novakndemonstrates the futile nature of ann”ideal” so divorced from practice. Thensecond void Novak fills is the absence ofnany serious effort to explain the larger,nspiritual dimension underlying capitalism.nSome (e.g. Irving Kristol) can givencapitalism only “two cheers” because itnallegedly fails to reach the spiritualnheights essential to human fulfillment.nOthers (e.g. George Gilder) impute noblensentiments like altmism where theynmay not be warranted, and wind up constmctingndefenses of capitalism that failnprecisely because one’s acmal experiencenwith entrepreneurs rarely calls to mindnthe generosity normally associated withntme altmism. Novak has chatted anotherncourse for those who seek a better understandingnof the impulses supportingndemocratic capitalism.nThat course begins with a frank acknowledgementnof the spirimal, that is,nreligious, dimension of human existence.nWith Max Weber, Novak observesnthat capitalism developed at a particularnpoint in history, and only in certain kindsnof societies. Although Catholics and Jewsnapplaud many of the virmes associatednwith capitalism, Catholicism in particularnhas been uneasy with its liberalism.nnnand several encyclicals have attacked it innthe course of criticizing capitalist economicnpractices. Novak, a Catholic himself,nsympathizes with some of this criticism,nbut asks what Catholic culmres cannoffer instead. Concern with matters beyondnthis world has not enabled those innCatholic countries to ignore theirnmaterial needs. Moreover, Novak demonstratesnthat it is unlikely that socialismndisguised as liberation theology will produceneither material abundance or spirimalnelevation. For those liberated theologiansnwho would prefer to ignore suchnmatters, Novak reminds them that thensocial encyclicals attacking liberalism andncapitalism reserved even stronger blastsnfor socialism.nBeyond the religious dimension of hisnargument, Novak has learned a greatndeal from history. He looks at the recordnof socialist economies at promoting prosperitynand sees failures. Even Marx,nNovak notices, simply assumed the materialnsuccess of capitalism, and thensocialism that he designed also takes thenprosperity of capitalism for granted.nNovak realizes that it is too late in thenhistorical game to continue the pretensenthat socialism can provide prosperity,nand that it is high time to consider thenelements of character that socialism-inpracticendestroys.nNovak’s reading of history drawsnheavily on the works of Reinhold Niebuhr.nProfessor Niebuhr’s early intellecmalnlife was deeply influenced by socialistnideas, but gradually he began to concedensome of the advantages of democraticncapitalism. Novak acquired fromnNiebuhr the willingness to re-examinenlong and deeply held beliefs—such asntwo aspects of the common mythologynthat surrounds the moral evaluation ofneconomic systems in the 20th century.nFirst, he has rethought Adam Smith andnthe founders of the American commercialnrepublic. Contrary to the mythologynof “isolated individualism” that pervadesnAmerican academic orthodoxy,nNovak discovers profound communitariannthemes in the writings of Smith,nAlexander Hamilton, and James Madi-n^ovemher 198Sn