Moral Aspects of Economic Theories and Present-Day University Curriculum


Contemporary science of economics considers itself to be primarily based on the teachings of the 18th century moral and political philosophers. Yet, the moral aspect of their ideas seems to have been largely ignored, which is probably no longer affordable given the present-day developments in the economic and political life of the civilized world. After 2008 issues connected with growing inequality have received considerable attention in the works of eminent economists in Europe and the United States, but the rationalistic approach that goes back to Newtonian rational mechanics and Bentham's hedonic calculus still prevails. Similar situation arose in the Russia, where the mainstream economics obediently follows neoclassical prescriptions while voices against the so called conventional wisdom have been assiduously ignored. Since this moral negation found its intellectual expression in the sphere of economic theory, it is important to understand what was taken from the classics, what was deliberately or unintentionally neglected, and how it may be possible to incorporate the moral aspect into the teaching of economics without provoking adolescent reactions in the students. Hence our attempt to look closely at the works of Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Edmund Burk and in particular Adam Smith, study their views on the moral and religious aspects of human activity and find out how influential economists of the last century and present-day university professors and government consultants have treated the issues of good and evil, right and wrong in their books, lectures, academic papers and public pronouncements.

Author Information
Tatiana Suprun, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2015
Stream: Education

This paper is part of the ACCS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon