Journaltalk - Can ‘Religion’ Enrich ‘Economics’?

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Author
  • A. M. C. Waterman
Volume Number 11
Issue Number 2
Pages 233-242
File URL
Publication year 2014

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Publisher INST SPONTANEOUS ORDER ECONOMICS
Grouping social sciences
Categories economic, economics

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3 comments

  1. Hi, T. My wife’s family moved away from Winnipeg, so I haven’t been back for quite a few years now. I enjoyed your article, which makes an interesting pairing with mine for comparison of where we agree and disagree. You make me feel I should read some of Whately’s work.

    I like the idea that the Invisible Hand is evidence of God’s Providence, similar to the wonders of the human body. It is a natural process, to be sure—- but isn’t it wonderful that we live in a world where the Invisible Hand works? It’s a bit like the physicists’ Fine-Tuned Universe. Your article made me realize that William Paley, of Watchmaker fame, wrote a book about “social science” as well as one about natural science. His Evidences of Christianity (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14780) is about arguments from history and sociology, e.g. why were the early Christians so willing to suffer persecution if the Gospels were falsehoods, and why did Christianity spread so much in the world? Economics can try to address those, just as evolution tries to address the Watchmaker, and, indeed, I’d count Rodney Stark as an honorary economist.

    posted 30 May 2014 by Eric Rasmusen

  2. Religion may not provide us with analytical tools designed for “sciences”, but it may tell us a lot about the ends to which economic analysis are applied.

    For example, some religious perspectives are easily applied to say that the goal is to maximize bounty, whereas others could say it is to care for the earth, or to provide for the poor and vulnerable. In these senses, I think it is worth asking what direction economic analysis may take from the wise words passed down through religious communities over the ages.

    posted 10 Jun 2014 by Nathan W

  3. I do not share Eric’s confidence in perfectly and justly adminsitered providence.

    If we want things to be better on earth, I do not think we should wait for providence. We may have to wait for a very long time, and poor, starving and vulnerable populations worldwide need out compassion and support today, not whenever providence thinks it is time to do it.

    posted 10 Jun 2014 by Nathan W

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