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Economics and religion – a personalist perspective

Petre Comsa () and Costea Munteanu ()
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Petre Comsa: “Valahia” University of Targoviste
Costea Munteanu: Bucharest Academy of Economics Studies

The Journal of Philosophical Economics, 2009, vol. 2, issue 2, 5-33

Abstract: Traditionally, the reaction of many mainstream economists to the effort to integrate theology and economics demonstrated the difficulty of doing so in a way that could be broadly recognized as legitimate. This state of things is simply an indication of a broad consensus within the field of economics that methods, norms, and even concerns construed to be related to religious belief have no place in the scientific study of economics. Recently, the situation seems to be changing, however. A decade ago, a group of Christian Catholic social thinkers engaged in dialogue with free-market economists concerning the morality of market activity. As a result, this interdisciplinary exchange inspired the conception of a new subdiscipline that sought to synthesize central aspects of theology and economics, thereby giving rise to a new body of scholarship termed economic personalism. The general idea is to promote a humane economic order that benefits from market activity but does not reduce the human person to just another element in economic phenomena. This paper suggests that, under such circumstances, the Christian-Orthodox contribution to further development of this new field of investigation could consist in bringing forward the teaching of the Holy Fathers of Eastern Tradition. It is argued that, in this way, the moral dimension which dominantly defines the Catholic vision of the human person could be surpassed and even transfigured by the spiritual dimension which fully inform the Orthodox vision. Moreover, this pre-eminence of the spiritual determinants of the human person is expected to result in a number of significant changes concerning the way economic personalism is currently conceived (in terms of its subject matter, basic conceptual principles, and general mission).

Keywords: religious economics; economics of religion; theology of economics; economic personalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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