The long history of the love-hate relationship between ethics and economics has been proceeding in cycles. From a subordination of economic and market issues to religious ethics in antiquity and the Middle Ages, through the integration of moral philosophy and economics by Adam Smith and his contemporaries, to the divergence between the fields of ethics and economics in recent times, the relationship has given rise to heated argument. Since both disciplines have developed their own language and method, the discourse takes place on different planets. Much of the secular ethics discourse has by now been injected into the curricula of business schools, and into corporate social responsibility. But is there a flow of input from economics into moral philosophy? What do religious thinkers and leaders know about economics when they pronounce on important socio-economic issues? This course explores the preconceptions behind religious scholars’ discourse on economic matters. The writing of religiously grounded public intellectuals is reviewed to understand how much of the rules of basic economic behavior they accept as valid, with particular emphasis on the role of markets. Commentators who are trying to reunite ethics and economics are consulted for guidance in this. The course focuses on thinkers in the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), as these faiths have accompanied the rise of the free market economy in the West, and have contributed to the discourse, supporting or rejecting key elements of an open economy.
Day 1: background to the integration of markets and moral philosophy.
· Deirdre N. McCloskey, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press 2007 („Apology“: 1-53, Chapter 42, „God’s Deal“: 442-450).
· Peter J. Hill and John Lunn, „Markets and Morality: Things Ethicists Should Consider When Evaluating Market Exchange“, in Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 35. No. 4 (2007), 627-653.
· Robert C. Solomon, „Free Enterprise, Sympathy, and Virtue“, in: Paul J. Zak (ed), Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the Economy, Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press 2008, Chapter 2, 16-41.
· M. Douglas Meeks, God the Economist, Minneapolis: Fortress Press 1989 (Chapter 3: „God and the Market Logic“, 47-73).
Day 2: engaging with Christian commentators.
· Philip Booth, The Moral Limits to the Market Economy and the Financial Crash, IEA Discussion Paper No. 30, London:IEA, September 2010.
· Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013 (Chapter 2/I, „Some Challenges of Today’s World“, 52-75).
· Die Deutschen Bischöfe, Chancengerechte Gesellschaft: Leitbild für eine freiheitliche Ordnung, Bonn: Sekretariat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Nr. 34, 2011.
· Klaus Nürnberger, Prosperity, Poverty and Pollution, Pietermaritzburg: Cluster 1999 (Chapter 12, 297-332).
Day 3: engaging with Muslim and Jewish commentators.
· Vali Nasr, The Rise of Islamic Capitalism, New York:Free Press 2009 (Chapter 1: „The Power of Commerce“, 1-27; Chapter 9: „The Turkish Model“, 232-251).
· Mohamed Aslam Haneef, Contemporary Islamic Economic Thought, Kuala Lumpur:Ikraq 1995 (Chapter 8: „Shades of Islamic Economic Thought“, 131-149).
· Aaron Levine, Free Enterprise and Jewish Law: Aspects of Jewish Business Ethics, New York:KTAV 1980 (Chapter 7: „Value and Ethics of Price“, 89-114; Chapter 8: „Market Regulation“, 115-130).
· Jacob Neusner, The Economics of the Mishnah, Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press 1990 (Chapter 5: „Market“, 72-91).