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Follow Up: When Economics And Religion Collide…

October 3rd, 2012 · 1 Comment
Follow Ups · Just For Fun

I will admit that I am several weeks behind on my Google Reader…and yes, I get that it’s pretty bad when I’m just now reading all of the commentary surrounding QE3. I suppose that explains why I didn’t incorporate this into my earlier post on the bizarre potential intermingling of economics and religion. From Marginal Revolution:

Economists who are clergy

Your post on economist/artists got me thinking about economists/clergy.

Obviously the most famous is Reverend Malthus. A Google search for “Economist Catholic priest” didn’t turn up much. “Economist rabbi” discloses that Israel Kirzner is the rabbi of a congregation in Brooklyn. “Economist clergyman” turned up Richard Jones but I’ve never heard of him. Economist/Jesuit turned up a number of names, all of them obscure to me.

Asher Meir also writes to me:

My favored explanation is that ”clergy” is an artificially higher bar than “artist”. Probably a large number of economists are and were devout people with learned and creative views on religion without having been ordained. E.g. Karl Homann is a first-rate theologian but not a priest. Robert Aumann is a first-rate Talmud scholar but not a rabbi. If the bar for “clergy” were parallel to that for “artist” these fellows would certainly make it.

Who else comes to mind? The School of Salamanca, and going back many medieval theologians wrote on economic issues. Paul Heyne. Heinrich Pesch. Galiani was an Abbey. Philip Wicksteed was a Unitarian theologian. The still underrated Richard Whately was the Archbishop of Dublin. Bishop George Berkeley wrote on monetary theory, as did Reverend Jonathan Swift.

The 18th century clergyman John Witherspoon wrote on monetary economics. Thomas Chalmers, who wrote on the Poor Laws and theories of underconsumption in the early 19th century, was ordained in the Church of Scotland.

Did all these 19th century figures really want to be economists, really want to be clergy, or both?

How on earth could I have neglected to make a Malthus joke? I am so off my game. The comments on that post, while very insightful, are not helping to dispel my perceived connection between macroeconomics and religion. 🙂 That would at least explain why there are discussions regarding whether prayer is an economic good. (HT to Mike Friedmann)

Tags: Follow Ups · Just For Fun

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Michael // Oct 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Dude, all mainstream economists are Clergy in the Cult Of Rational Expectations.

    It doesn’t matter how many times their predictions are proven wrong, they’ll mouth the same phrases and just attribute it to “irregular and inconsistent lags”.

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