Reviews for Human Goods, Economic Evils

Edward Hadas does not seek to undermine economics so much as to complete it. Vast tracts of economic activity go unrecognised, he says, because they are glossed over or ignored... The book is clever, well-researched, thought-provoking, and ambitious, It also serves to promote the wider and deeper understanding, by economists and earthlings alike, of one of the dominant forces in modern society. - Robert Cole, Times Literary Supplement, March 2008

This is a book that provides both an easy and a difficult read. It is easy to read because the author has a good command of language and style, allowing him to address difficult themes in accessible language. It is a difficult read because the author has undertaken an ambitious task, and brings the reader along to work with him. The reader will be rewarded with a more structured appreciation of the relation between economic proficiency and morality, if nothing else.

- Roderick J. Macdonald, Review of Social Economy, Vol. 67, December 2009

Building on wide reading in classical and contemporary economic theory as well as on the breadth and depth of the Catholic theological tradition, Hadas proposes looking afresh at economics through the categories of labor (what humans make of or how they use the world) and consumption (how humans are nourished by their labors), set within a hierarchical framework of values...There is scope, depth, and sophistication in the discussions of human nature (between Augustinian pessimism and Pelagian optimism), economic goods and evils (relative to the hierarchy of values), and the typologies of labor and consumption (both creative contributions to these matters). Hadas rightly argues that economics plays an essential but nevertheless “supporting role” in the overall scheme of human affairs. In the end, he defends the modern industrial economy for its overall contributions to human well-being, but warns that potential abuses (because of human moral weakness) are best checked by stronger governmental regulation. The result is a commendable effort to “redeem” the human understanding of homo economicus.

- Amos Yong in Religious Studies Review, June 2008

I’d like to recommend a fascinating book that re-imagines economics. Self-consciously bold, the book rejects the utilitarian view of man implicit in “neo-classical” thinking (Ricardo, Malthus, later Mises), which focuses on man as an imperfectly rational calculator of his own self-interest. Instead, it attempts to view the economic activities of men and women in a much wider context—that of their life as social animals, members of families and communities, and creatures of God.

- Taki’s Top Drawer, 28 February 2008

It is refreshing, occasionally, to read something that carries one back from economics through political economy to moral philosophy, back to the roots of our discipline. ...It is fascinating that Hadas has managed to sculpt a philosophy he admits is inchoate (Catholic Social Doctrine) into a complete system for thinking about economics.

– Heterodox Economics Newsletter, 30 January 2008