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The moral dimensions of neoclassical economics: a critique

Marie Finnegan (Department of Economics, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 June 1995


Aims to provide a comparative analytical critique of the moral underpinnings of the neo‐classical tradition. The “moral gauge” employed for this purpose is that of the overtly ethical socio‐economic doctrine of the Catholic Church, as delineated in the major papal encyclicals produced over the course of the last 100 years. Outlines the ethical framework supported by this doctrine, and then compares and contrasts it with the neoclassical approach under a number of theoretical and policy headings. Argues that the neoclassical presumption of an interpersonal moral vacuum has constituted a major departure from its intellectual inheritance, and has weakened its authority as a basis for policy formulation.



Finnegan, M. (1995), "The moral dimensions of neoclassical economics: a critique", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 17-28.




Copyright © 1995, MCB UP Limited