Higher Education and the Lasallian Mission in an Age of Inequality

Shelly McCallum-Ferguson, Steven Nawara, Eoin O'Connell


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In this paper we propose that institutions like the Schools of the Christian Brothers play an important role as a counterweight to free market inequalities. First we explore the free market mechanism and draw attention to its negative externalities. Then we highlight the resemblance between these negative externalities and the context that inspired Jean Baptiste de La Salle to found the Schools of the Christian Brothers. We show how the Christian Brothers organization is inspired by ideals that are sharply distinct from those that govern a strictly capitalist system. The governing principles of the Schools of the Christian Brothers are ethical rather than market-based. This tradition should be maintained and solidified going forward for economic and moral reasons. We argue for ethical restrictions on the influence of market-based rationality in determining the future of Lasallian organizations. This can be achieved by (i) leveraging the international network of Lasallian schools and programs (ii) targeting advancement initiatives and (iii) maintaining Lasallian mission formation efforts.


Free Markets; Capitalism; De La Salle; Schools of the Christian Brothers; Inequality; Poverty; Lasallian; Education; Higher Education

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