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Is the human being a profit and pleasure maximiser?

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Liberal economics is based on the concept of 'economic man', that is, the human being as a profit and utility maximiser. The pursuit of self-interest at the expense of one's competitors is deemed morally acceptable and socially desirable. These assumptions stand in stark contrast to the anthropology of traditionalist cultures which bind human avarice into communalist fetters. While traditionalism leads to economic stagnation, modernism leads to vast discrepancies in wealth and life chances, marginalisation of the least competitive, squandering of resources and ecological destruction. The mindset of the future must combine freedom with responsibility and gain comprehensive horizons in terms of time and space. A historical-theological survey shows that the inner dynamic of the biblical faith is capable of generating a vision of comprehensive wellbeing, the freedom to act redemptively and the motivation to achieve a more balanced and equitable future.

Affiliations: 1: 19 Thorpe Lane Blackridge Pietermaritzburg 3201 Republic of South Africa

10.1163/157430196X00211
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1996-01-01
2016-12-03

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