Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Theology and Economics: the case of the Early Jansenism

Menuet Maxime, University of Orleans

This paper reassesses the links between the Christian theology and political economy during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries by focusing on the beginnings of the Jansenist movement—a powerful and intellectually rich Christian movement of the time in France, Austria, and Holland. This paper examines through three study cases - the vision on labour and poverty, the issue of social optimum, and the interest-bearing loans - how the main features of the Jansenism theology helped the emergence of new political economy ideas that will be carried over into the eighteenth century by some philosophers, lawyers, or economic theorists.

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Keywords: Jansenism, theology, self-love, labour, interest-bearing loan, political economy

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