School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

The Foundations of Economic Personalism: Promise and Peril

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2003


Arts and Humanities | Catholic Studies | Christianity | Economics | Ethics in Religion | Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The Acton Institute’s three-volume series on the Foundations of Economic Personalism contributes much to the dialogue between theology and economics. This article, however, identifies a number of shortcomings. These include an overly individualistic bias and a reliance on the Austrian school of economics that are not consonant with Christian and especially Catholic social thought on economic life. There is a certain naiveté about the philosophy of science and an artificial bifurcation between “economic” life (where values are assumed to be subjective) and the rest of life (where objective values are endorsed). The dialogue between theology and economics is badly needed, but it requires a strong dose of self-criticism from all its participants.