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  • Published: 1 Sep 2017
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781138201521-HET18-1


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Political œconomy
  • Political economy
    • Economic analysis
    • Scarcity
    • Self-love
  • Original sin
  • Acknowledgment
  • ReferencesPapal EncyclicalsPontifical Council for Justice and PeaceOther references

Political Economy and Religion


‘Political economy’ (meaning economic thought) may be affected by ‘religion’ (viewed as a public, cultic activity); and ‘religion’ may be affected by ‘political economy’. When political economy is understood as economic thought directed to the management of a national economy, the effect of religion will depend on its political weight in the national culture. When political economy is understood as ‘economic analysis’ – scientific inquiry into economic phenomena in general – religion can have no direct effect; though it may provide the ‘pre-analytic vision’ that gave rise to some particular inquiry and which partly shaped it. Political economy may affect religion if national economic circumstances influence public intellectual and ethical culture. Economic analysis may affect religion if any of its theorems have implications for theological formulations.