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The Modal Laws of Economics

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image of Philosophia Reformata

Herman Dooyeweerd’s classical characterization of the meaning-kernel of the economic modality runs as follows: the sparing or frugal mode of administering scarce goods, implying an alternative choice of their destination with regard to the satisfaction of different human needs. My first aim in this paper is to show that Dooyeweerd’s characterization of the meaning-kernel of the economic modality naturally leads to neoclassical economic theory. In order to do this, I will provide an argument that, departing from Dooyeweerd’s definition of the meaning-kernel of the economic modality, concludes in a logical reconstruction of (the static case of) neoclassical economic theory (from now on denoted as NET). The fundamental law of this theory will turn out to be thus, naturally, a formulation of the fundamental modal law of economics. The second aim of the paper is epistemological since it discusses the methodological problem of the empirical claim of the theory. It is my hope that this discussion will clarify the limits of NET and provide a reply to the objections raised against it by Reformed scholars like Goudzwaard (1980).


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