Friday, January 14, 2011

January in Paris

Three days ago I was honored to present a truncated version of the ideas in the first chapter of my book Foundations of Economics to the Austrian Research Seminar hosted by Guido Hulsmann. In addition to Professor Hulsmann, there were seven bright Austrian scholars in attendence, all of which contributed valuable suggestions and lively discussion.

My presentation, entitled "Christian Foundations of Economic Analysis," sought to briefly and broadly demonstrate that the Scriptural view of man presents us a picture of man that encourages us to embrace economic laws developed with a praxeological method. It was this understanding of economics as a science of human action that convinced me that economics was a calling worth pursuing for life.

As I explained the connection between the Biblical view of man and economic method:

Christian anthropology characterizes man as a being who a free rational agent who engages in purposeful behavior. In doing so, man applies means according to ideas to achieve ends. Such allocation of means require choice which itself necessitates preferring one thing to another. Such preferences are made according to the subjective values of the human actor. Man undertakes action in the face of incomplete knowledge in the present and must speculate about an uncertain future. Hence, praxeology is a method especially in agreement with the Christian view of man. When one looks at Scripture for information regarding the nature of human action, he finds that God’s revealed Word tells the reader that man is created in God’s image with the ability to think and act purposefully, by making choices based on subjective evaluations determined by his own value scale. Praxeology, therefore, is the economic method most reflective of reality as described in the Scriptures.

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