Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

At the Boundaries of the Trading Sphere: The appearance of the 'Just Price' in Thomas Aquinas's Early Works

JANUARD Pierre, PHARE Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

‘Just price’ appears explicitly once in the Commentary on the Book of Isaiah and twice in the Commentary on the Sentences, the early works of Thomas Aquinas. These three inaugural expressions, little known and seemingly anecdotal, which concern a gift, a non-tradable good and a semi-tradable good, are in fact fundamental and decisive: They give a new understanding of the Thomasian just price as an analogy of justice, they highlight the role of price in reducing the risk of lack of information about the justice of exchange, they allow the delimitation of the market and they indicate how Aquinas implements, through a particular attention to the goods, an objective approach that reduces the subjective risk concerning the agents and their hidden intention.

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Keywords: Aquinas, Scholastics, Just price, Risks

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