Implicit a prioris in the Evolution of Economics: Ratzinger's Alternative
The economics literature includes several critiques of the dominant utilitarian position, as respectively offered by Posner (1979), Rawls (1971), Sen (1987) and institutionalist followers of John Dewey. There is also now a rapidly growing literature on the economics of happiness. Another quite distinctive position of social importance on these issues is provided by Joseph Ratzinger, also known as Pope Benedict XVI. It offers an alternative conception of ontology and teleology, and reflects conceptions of freedom, happiness, man and rationality different from those found in orthodox economics, and different too from those found in the above-mentioned critiques. It intersects with recent writings of Lawson (2003), Nelson (2010) and Tilman (2008). In order to promote critical scrutiny of the a priori positions embedded in contending schools of economic thought, it follows that the implications of this Ratzinger critique should be consciously confronted by economists, including institutionalists, with whom various starting points are shared.
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