The Role of Hierarchy in the Production of Salvation Goods

Originally published in The Journal of Private Enterprise

We argue that in the production of certain types of goods, hierarchy may be beneficial or even necessary to maintain quality and consistency. To illustrate, we investigate how the hierarchical form of the Roman Catholic Church has provided religious "goods" for thousands of years and compares favorably to other modes of production. While the Church frequently clashed with the forces of "liberalism," it has maintained that its hierarchical structure supports freedom of a different sort--freedom from external corruption. We believe the hierarchical structure has mostly succeeded in providing that freedom. Hierarchy is also intended to promote good reputation, addressing the uncertainty involved with salvation goods and freeing consumers to make symmetrically informed choices. We further argue that organizational hierarchies in modern corporations have goals that share similar features.

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