Faith & Economics
NUMBER 53, Fall 2009
Having Life More Abundantly: Caring for the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Thomas D. Jeitschko, Seamus O’Connell, and Rowena A. Pecchenino
Abstract: Health can be subdivided into three categories: physical, mental, and spiritual. Empirical work establishes spiritual health as a correlate of physical and mental health. The purpose of this paper is to complement these empirical findings with choice-theoretic underpinnings. Thus, to trace the linkages between one’s choices concerning the disposition of one’s income and time and one’s health and well-being, we develop a model comparing differentially spiritual individuals. While subjective well-being is increasing in spirituality, the more spiritual may not be healthier. Those whose faith provides superior ability to cope with stress have better health and subjective well-being. Public policy can provide incentives to reduce the costs of spiritual development, perhaps leading to a healthier populace.
JEL: I190, D01, Z12
Keywords: spirituality, spiritual capital, sense of coherence, health and well-being, socially referenced preferences, altruism.
Sergei Bulgakov’s “Sophic” Economy: An Eastern Orthodox Perspective on Christian Economics
Daniel P. Payne and Christopher Marsh
Abstract: The demise of Communism brought with it a moral and political vacuum, and an extreme form of market capitalism has come to fill that void. Russia today finds itself wrestling with the same questions it faced in the Russian Empire’s final days: how can the blessings of economic development and modernization be attained while at the same time avoiding the sins of materialism and excess? This article examines the Christian economics of Russian Orthodox theologian Sergei Bulgakov, which we argue provides an alternative understanding of the economic process to the materialism of both capitalism and Marxism. Bulgakov believed that both aptly describe the fallen situation of humanity, and felt that they failed to grasp that Christianity can provide the freedom of the individual to transcend material nature and bring it back into communion with God through participation in Sophia.
JEL: A12, A13, B31
Keywords: Russian Orthodoxy, Marxism, capitalism, materialism
Christianity and Hayek
Kenneth G. Elzinga and Matthew R. Givens
Abstract: We discuss the influence of a Christian worldview on the work of F.A. Hayek. A classical liberal, Hayek spent his life defining and defending a standard of liberty that, while distinct from its Christian counterpart, nonetheless depended upon the creation and continuance of a moral society to uphold it. In fact, much of the Hayekian framework relies upon Christian presuppositions. Similar to Christianity, Hayek supported both a high and low view of man, but his ideas were rooted in orthodoxy as well as evolution. Though Hayek was a self-professed agnostic, we show that his treatment of individual liberty was more consistent with a Judeo-Christian worldview than with that of his naturalist peers and postmodernist successors.
JEL: A13, B25, B53
Keywords: Hayek, Christianity, naturalism, evolution.
Games in Economic Development
by Bruce Wydick
Reviewed by Christopher B. Barrett
Persistence in Poverty: Why the Economics of the Well-Off Can’t Help the Poor
by Charles Karelis
Reviewed by Tim Essenburg
Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire
by William T. Cavanaugh
Reviewed by John Larrivee
Human Goods, Economic Evils: A Moral Approach to the Dismal Science
by Edward Hadas
Reviewed by Roger D. Johnson
Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crisis
by Bob Goudzwaard, Mark Vander Vennen, and David Van Heemst
Reviewed by Adel S. Abadeer
Religious Perspectives on Business Ethics – An Anthology
by Thomas O’Brien and Scott Paeth
Reviewed by Carter Crockett