1st Edition

Thomas Aquinas and the Civil Economy Tradition The Mediterranean Spirit of Capitalism

By Paolo Santori Copyright 2021
    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    Delving into the history of economic thought, this book presents a picture of the Mediterranean spirit of capitalism, a tradition that has its protagonists in Thomas Aquinas and the eighteenth-century civil economy, and seeks to understand its presence and relevance for contemporary societies.

    The book argues that it is reductive to attribute to the ‘Protestant ethic’ the different formations of capitalism in the Western world. Instead, it is vital to acknowledge the differences in the ways in which the market is lived, enterprises are created and conducted, and civic life in general is understood in different regions. This thought-provoking study demonstrates that in Southern Europe, the legacy of Aquinas and the civil economy adds different terms to those recurring in classical and neo-classical economy: common good, reciprocity, virtue, public trust, mutual assistance, and public happiness. It is these ideas of a market as a place for mutual assistance which can be said to characterize the Mediterranean spirit of capitalism.

    Thomas Aquinas and the Civil Economy Tradition will be of interest to advanced students and researchers in the history of economic thought, economic philosophy, Christian ethics, and moral theology.

    1. Introduction 

    2. Aquinas's social and economic teachings 

    3. Aquinas and economic thought 

    4. From Aquinas to civil economy 

    5. The Thomistic soul of civil economy 

    6. Conclusion 



    Paolo Santori holds a PhD in Sciences of Civil Economy at Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (LUMSA) University in Rome. Currently, he is a grant research holder for the Centro Universitario Cattolico (CUC) and a member of the Economy of Francesco. In 2020, he taught history of economic thought at the Pontifical Lateran University. 

    "Santori’s work thus makes a valuable contribution to the debate on the interpretation of Aquinas from his lineage and posterity, namely civil economy. It sheds light both on medieval economic thought and on the history of civil economy. This book is therefore helpful for all those who study these periods, for those who seek to identify long-term legacies in the history of economic thought, and for those who approach current economic issues from these legacies."

    Pierre Januard, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought