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Further Reflections on Human‐nature Assumptions in Economics — Part II: From Homo Oeconomicus Honorabilis to Homo Oeconomus, the Good Steward

Thomas O. Nitsch (Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 November 1991

Abstract

Misbegotten, misnamed, antisocial homo oeconomicus is now contrasted with the more human personae of homo oeconomicus honorabilis, the “open”/ “Semi‐economic Man” of Pantaleoni and Marshall, the still arcane homo oeconomicus humanus of Nitsch and Malina, and (most recently) the positivistic (neo‐) homo socio‐economicus of Etzioni et al., which ‐‐in turn – harks back to Smith′s Theory of 1759‐90. Showing the essential identity of modern economics and Aristotle′s oikonomikē, and recognising the ozone layer as pre‐eminent among once‐free but now very scarce resources (chrēmata ) that have to be utilised efficiently and administered prudently, the author joins forces with Herman Daly et al. in proposing an Aristotelian/Biblical homo oeconomus as a “Good Steward” in the spirit of Frigerio′s L′Economo Prudente (1629) and qualitative improvement over the being who has masqueraded as homo oeconomicus. Uniting this prudent conservator and caretaker of our natural endowment with “Homo Faber, the Subject‐creator of Social Economy” of an earlier work yields the antithesis of the veritable homo oeconomicus impudens of Classical‐Neoclassical infamy.

Keywords

Citation

Nitsch, T.O. (1991), "Further Reflections on Human‐nature Assumptions in Economics — Part II: From Homo Oeconomicus Honorabilis to Homo Oeconomus, the Good Steward", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 18 No. 11/12, pp. 62-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000000476

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited