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A brief intellectual history of the lesser depression


  • Edward Hadas

    () (Thomson Reuters Breakingviews and Maryvale Institute (Birmingham, UK))


Globally, the real economy of goods and services functions better than ever in human history, but the financial and monetary system remains subject to crippling crises, including a severe one in 2008. This deviation can be explained by ‘‘the power of bad ideas’’, in particular policy-makers’ narrow focus on quantitative variables and their distrust of moral arguments. The combination leaves regulators and practitioners unable to recognise the role of greed and pride in finance. A moral approach could help reduce the financial system’s vulnerability. The description of economic activity in Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate provides a good starting point. He offers a fundamentally non-monetary view of three economic arrangements: giving through exchange (commerce), giving through duty (taxes), and ‘‘gratuitousness and communion’’ (economic self-giving without concern for a return). The integration of the last into economic analysis would be particularly helpful.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Hadas, 2012. "A brief intellectual history of the lesser depression," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 120(3), pages 313-324.
  • Handle: RePEc:vep:journl:y:2012:v:120:i:3:p:313-324

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Catholic Social Teaching; Economic Anthropology; Ethics; Finance; Financial Crises;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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