A Moral Approach to the Dismal Science



Welcome to the website of Edward Hadas, economist, journalist, author, financial analyst and thoughtful Catholic. On this site you will find information about my latest books, as well as articles ranging over such topics as the moral and ethical basis for economics, a Christian understanding of my own Jewish heritage, and the current financial crisis.



A BRIEF INTELLECTUAL HISTORY OF THE LESSER DEPRESSION - What went wrong in the financial world in 2008? The fundamental problem was ‘‘the power of bad ideas’’, in particular too little attention to the corrosive effect of greed and pride. What is the answer? Moral finance. Where to start the new approach? With the three economic arrangements described in Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate: giving through exchange (commerce), giving through duty (taxes), and ‘‘gratuitousness and communion’’ (giving just to share).



THE FINANCIAL MARKETS AND EUROPE - A FINE ROMANCE! examines the bittersweet romance between the rugged old market and the beautiful continent. Also in Italian, at the Bollettino di Dottrina sociale della Chiesa.


'Over the last two years, the former romance of financial markets and the European political establishment has turned bitter. The tension springs from a fundamental incompatibility which was almost certain to emerge in a period of economic, political and financial tension.' [read more]


THE STORY SO FAR - TOWARDS A NEW FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC NARRATIVE
Based on a talk given at the ASSET conference in Venice
“THE WHOLE BREADTH OF REASON: RETHINKING ECONOMICS AND POLITICS” on 15 September, 2011.


HUMAN GOODS, ECONOMIC EVILS [from ISI Books]
The rich young man to whom Jesus speaks in Mark 10.17-31, provides a good example of the modern economic transformation. His wealth is not described, but it is safe to say that his fine clothes, large house, and numerous servants would have made him rich anywhere in the world at any time up to about 1750. By today’s standards, however, he was very poor. His furniture and diet were crude and meager. His house may have been fine, but it was cold and dirty and his health was likely to be poor. His travels were ridiculously slow and uncomfortable—a camel or a carriage vs. an air-conditioned car or jet. His access to knowledge (technical, not spiritual) was pathetic. He had no text messages, recorded music, or overseas holidays.The tremendous increase in stuff production teaches a lesson about the human condition.


THE CREDIT CRUNCH - Making Moral Sense of the Financial Crisis [booklet from CTS]

It was supposed to be the end of history, or at least of financial history. As recently as the beginning of 2007, the economic world seemed to have settled into a happy pattern in much of the world: steady economic growth, steadily rising prices for common shares, bonds and houses and a perpetually low level of unemployment. Most poor countries were getting richer fast, especially those which had natural resources to sell at steadily rising prices. Financiers were extremely well rewarded, but it seemed they deserved their millions.After all, their magic lay behind this “great moderation”, or so they claimed. Now it all looks quite different…


THE WORLD, THE JEW AND THE CHRISTIAN [article from Touchstone Magazine]Each family has its own story, but every one reflects the history of the world. My family’s tale is no exception. This narrative of two religious communities – German Jews and American Chrstians – is unique and yet typical. I hope it is also instructive.




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Picture: Taolenn de François-Marie Balanant. An allegorical image depicting the human heart subject to the seven deadly sins, each represented by an animal (toad = avarice; snake = envy; lion = wrath; snail = sloth; pig = gluttony; goat = lust; peacock = pride).


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