Monthly Archives: June 2011

Faith & Economics – Spring 2011

Faith & Economics
NUMBER 57, Spring 2011


Capitalism as Heresy: On Why Theologians Criticize Markets
John Lunn

Abstract: Christian economists are often interested in statements made by theologians and church leaders on economic issues. While there are theologians who see the benefits of market systems, there remain many theologians who are very critical of market economies as well as critical of modern economics as a discipline. The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons given by theologians who are critical of market systems. Some of the reasons are moral or ethical, such as a concern for income inequality, while others are theological or philosophical. Theologians discussed include Catholics and Protestants. Several of the theologians examined are part of the Radical Orthodoxy group and almost all tend to be postmodern. I do not try to offer a defense of markets in this paper, but do make some comments on some of the theological and philosophical issues.
JEL: A12, B59, Y80
Keywords: theology, markets, Radical Orthodoxy, postmodernism

The Human Soul: A Missing Link in Economic Development Education
Paul N. Wilson

Abstract: Human agency, as traditionally represented in economic education, provides the student an incomplete understanding of the human soul—our embodied characteristics that make our decision making uniquely human. In this paper I introduce a soul-based framework for human agency and then use this conceptual tool to contrast three distinct schools of thought, or worldviews, used to analyze the causes of and solutions to global poverty. I then design and apply a soul-scoring evaluation model to four widely-used economic development textbooks. These popular textbooks present an overly narrow view of human agency that fails to capture critical components of economic development because of their inadequate recognition of the economic role of the human heart, mind, body, and relationships. However, our emerging economic literature represents a valuable resource for presenting, in the near future, a more useful conceptualization of human agency in our economic development classrooms.
JEL: A20, O10, Z10
Keywords: soul, development economics, transformational development, institutions, culture

Book Reviews

The True Wealth of Nations in Recent Catholic Social Thought and Economic Life
by Daniel K. Finn, Editor
Reviewed by A.M.C. Waterman

Tight Fists or Open Hands? Wealth & Poverty in Old Testament Law
by David L. Baker
Reviewed by John D. Mason

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World
by Dierdre McCloskey
Reviewed by Paul Oslington

The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America
by Robert H. Nelson
Reviewed by John C. Bergstrom

New Directions in Development Ethics: Essays in Honor of Denis Goulet 
by Charles K. Wilber and Amitava Krishna Dutt, Editors
Reviewed by Ruth Uwaifo Oyelere

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just
by Timothy Keller
Reviewed by Nate Peach