Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy


Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.0 X 9.3 inches | 1.25 pounds
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About the Author

Mary L. Hirschfeld is Associate Professor of Economics and Theology in the Department of the Humanities, Villanova University.


We are not lacking in Christian critiques of neoclassical economics. Rarely do these come from a Harvard-trained economist turned Catholic theologian. In order to diagnose just how the rational choice model frustrates, rather than facilitates, the pursuit of happiness, we must get clear on the nature of genuine human flourishing. In a book both acute and winsome, pragmatic and visionary, Hirschfeld turns to Thomas Aquinas for inspiration. Only with an adequate anthropology in hand can we understand both why economic analysis works as well as it does, and why it ultimately leads us astray. Freed from the pursuit of maximal utility, we can begin to build a humane economy. A wise and urgently-needed contribution!--Jennifer Herdt, Yale University
In Aquinas and the Market, Mary Hirschfeld takes on the demanding task of relating religion--particularly Christianity--and the discipline of economics. Uniquely qualified, she accomplishes the task with insight and elegance. The book is well-written, timely, and a 'must-read' for both scholars and students interested in the relation of faith and economics.--Daniel Finn, Saint John's University
While most theological reflections and critiques of the economy are often sorely deficient in economic understanding, Aquinas and the Market fills this void, offering careful analysis of the moral thought of Aquinas and its relevance to economics. Hirschfeld writes with clarity, providing a foundation upon which to better understand Aquinas's project on its own terms.--Andrew Yuengert, Pepperdine University
Hirschfeld shows that the rational choice model of economists is too weak to make coherent sense of human well-being, even in matters economic. She proposes that we take the best insights of the economists and embed them in a more comprehensive account of practical reason, such as that of Thomas Aquinas. This kind of thought experiment is long overdue.--Russell Hittinger, University of Tulsa
For those seeking succinct, clear and accurate accounts of the Thomist understanding of the human person and the presuppositions of economics, this book could hardly be bettered.--Frank Litton"Irish Catholic" (01/17/2019)
[Hirschfeld] integrates economic research into a 'philosophic and theological discussion about the human good and human happiness.' This knowledge may not be quantified in pie charts, by Wall Street, or within algorithms, but Hirschfeld insists that wisdom lies beyond the labs and the think-tanks...Aquinas and the Market begins a necessary conversation between economic and theological sectors, in the academy and, one hopes, outside the ivory towers and seminaries, to calculate our ultimate worth.--John L. Murphy"PopMatters" (01/15/2019)
Excellent...Hirschfeld offers an attractive and sophisticated model for how theology should approach economics.--Derek S. Jeffreys"Journal of the American Academy of Religion" (04/07/2019)