9780415454810

Political Economy as Natural Theology: Smith, Malthus and their Followers

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780415454810

  • ISBN10:

    0415454816

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-07-27
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Summary

In this path breaking book Paul Oslington shows how theology shaped political economy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Early political economists such as Adam Smith, William Paley, TR Malthus, Richard Whately, William Whewell extended the British scientific natural theology tradition of Bacon, Boyle, and Isaac Newton to the social world. This extension formed political economy as a discipline but also created tensions (especially the evolution of social institutions and theodicy) that eventually killed natural theology and separated economics from theology in mid-19th century Britain. The American story is different, with the migration across the Atlantic of a theological version of Adam Smith, an encounter with the social gospel movement, then the early 20th century separation of economics from theology. The book is essential reading for all concerned with the origins of economics, the meaning and purpose of economic activity, the role of religion in contemporary policy debates.

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