Skip to content

Economics as a Moral Science

The book “Economics as a Moral Science” edited by Peter Rona and Laszlo Zsolnai, was published by Springer in 2017. This volume is the first product of the “Virtues and Economics” research project of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford.

The book is an attempt to reclaim economics as a moral science. It argues that ethics is a relevant component of all levels of economic activity, from the individual and organizational to societal and global. Taking ethical considerations into account is needed to explain and predict the behavior of economic agents, as well as for evaluating and designing economic policies and mechanisms.

The book employs the personalist approach that sees human persons with free will and conscience as the basic agents of economic life, and defines human flourishing as the ultimate goal of economic activities. The book intends to demonstrate that economics can gain a lot in meaning and also in analytical power by reuniting themselves with ethics. The unique feature of the book is that it not only analyses ethics and economics on an abstract level, but puts behavioral, institutional and systemic issues together in a robust and human view of economic functioning. Economic “facts” are interwoven  with ethical content. Utility calculations and moral considerations co-determine economic behavior and outcomes.