Review of Aquinas and the Market. Toward a Humane Economy by Mary L. Hirschfeld
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No one better than the author herself to explain the purpose of this book: “The key question at the heart of this project would be how to balance pragmatic realism about the fact that humans are most often driven by incentives with the need to address humans directly as rational agents capable of discerning what goods are worthy of pursuit, in a form that is better suited to attaining genuine happiness but is not well captured by the rational choice model” (xvii). We shall unpack this into its two main elements, a critique of mainstream economics, anchored on the rational choice model and a proposal regarding the foundational premises of a “humane economy,” which turns out to be a “theological economics.”
Not much is new in the characterization and objections presented to the rational choice model, except perhaps for the observation that even the latest trends in the discipline, such as behavioral economics, continue to fall in line. Hirschfeld describes the rational choice model...