1st Edition

Foundations for a Humanitarian Economy Re-thinking Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy

By William D. Bishop Copyright 2022
    96 Pages
    by Routledge

    96 Pages
    by Routledge

    The modern global economy and discipline of economics place mathematical calculation above human concern. However, a re-reading of Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy can positively highlight the contrast in values and spirit of the early medieval European world with our own scientific age.

    This book discusses the historical and cultural contexts that influenced Boethius’ writing and explores how Consolation offers a radically different understanding of economic concepts: wealth from inner happiness and virtues, poverty from hoarding outer possessions, self-sufficiency in the greater whole, enlightenment through misfortune, and development as fruition from the Good. These economic considerations resonate with a range of heterodox economic perspectives, such as Ecological and Buddhist Economics. The fundamental revaluations gained through Boethius pose a critique of mainstream neoclassical and neoliberal economics: to consumerism, avarice, growth and technology fetishism, and market rationality. These economic foundations resonate into a time when global crises raise the question of fundamental human priorities, offering alternatives to an ever-expanding industrial market economy designed for profit, and helping to avoid irrevocable socio-ecological disasters.

    The issues raised and questioned in this book will be of significant interest to readers with concern for pluralist approaches to economics, philosophy, classics, ancient history and theology.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.

    1. Introduction 2. The Consolation in Context 3. The Consolation of Philosophy 4. Consolation as Economy's Foundation 5. Conclusion


    William Bishop is an independent scholar. Born in London in 1945, he pursued a career largely in telecommunications before studying for degrees in the History and Theory of Art. His MA at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth included a dissertation on WH Fox Talbot, the English inventor and practitioner of an early paper-based photographic process. This led to freelance writing: exhibition reviews and photography features particularly as a regular contributor to the British Journal of Photography (1982-1992).

    As publisher and editor he launched a small-scale quarterly journal for independent photographers, Inscape magazine, in 1991. The fruit of which was a self-published book in 1997: Realising Personal Truths in Photography, Inscape, London. Career activities include work in the British Library and the specialist library at Rudolf Steiner House in London. Besides some memoir-related books published through the online publisher, Lulu Press, his interest in writing and philosophy merged into association with ‘The Wednesday’ group, and several of his articles in recent years appear in The Wednesday.