Believing in economics

Economics as Religion: From Sam­uelson to Chicago and Beyond.
By Robert H. Nelson. Pennsylvania State University Press, 378 pp., $35.00.

There can be no fundamental separation between theology and economics, argues Robert H. Nelson, econo­mist by training and professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland. Nelson's ambitious 1991 text, Reaching for Heaven on Earth: The Theological Meaning of Economics, Economics as Religion (Rowman & Littlefield), offered a sweeping  overview of the primary pre-20th-century schools of economic thought that have shaped the development and self-understanding of modern Western societies. His distinctive contribution is to attempt to uncover the sometimes explicit but usually implicit value assumptions and normative visions that stand behind and give coherence to these schools of thought--an exploration he continues here.

 

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