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The essay printed here is the lecture delivered by Michael Novak at the AEI Annual Dinner on February 25, 1999. At that dinner, Mr. Novak received AEI's Francis Boyer Award for 1999. The award was established in 1977 by SmithKline Beecham, in memory of its former chief executive officer, to recognize individuals who have made exceptional practical or scholarly contributions to government policy and social welfare.
The 1999 Boyer Award was presented to Michael Novak in recognition of his profound explorations of the ethical foundations of economic and political systems, which have secured his place as one of the most important thinkers of the late twentieth century. His groundbreaking book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism has influenced such leaders as Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Václav Havel and was in wide underground circulation behind the Iron Curtain beginning in 1984. As a university professor, prolific author, journalist, and, since 1979, the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at AEI, Novak has extended the boundaries of religious thinking into many areas of culture and politics--including capitalism and democracy, the American Constitution, ethnicity, sports, poverty, and economic growth.
Michael Novak is the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at AEI.