Christian Economic Thought in The Netherlands
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Abstract. This paper is not about Dutch Christian political economy. Instead, it focuses on some recent writings of Dutch Christian economists. The objective of the paper is to get an idea of how economic thought in the Netherlands – particularly about the market – is influenced by Christian ethics. The paper will start with a brief summary of (Dutch) Christian ethics, distinguishing four approaches: motivation, values, institutions, and instrumentalism. The next section will review relevant Christian economic literature for each of these approaches, except for the last one, as this does not seem to be reflected in Dutch economic literature. The discussion of the literature will focus on the role of the market in the Dutch economy. One finding is that Christian ethics in the Netherlands has not much influence on economic thought about markets, but more on views about the appropriate role of the state, the family, and civil society. Therefore, the embeddedness of markets tends to be emphasized in the literature, not the ethics of the market itself. The paper will end with a conclusion, in which it is suggested that the dominant view of markets as being embedded in Christian attitudes, values and institutions may imply some contradictions between what is generally agreed to be the core of Christian ethics in the Netherlands, on the one hand, and the ethics of markets, on the other hand.
- christian ethics
- van gorcum