Liberty and the Intellectual Roots of Modern Market Economics


This conference focused on the contributions made to economics by the Late Scholastics, a group of European intellectuals who wrote in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Scholastics understood economics as a method of evaluating human action, and they applied insights derived from moral philosophy and theology to the rising complexity of sixteenth-century commercial exchange.


From Liberty Fund

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (vol. 1)

by By Adam Smith
Edited by R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner
William B. Todd, Textual Editor

First published in 1776, the year in which the American Revolution officially began, Smith’s Wealth of Nations sparked a revolution of its own. In it Smith analyzes the major elements of political economy, from market pricing and the division of labor to monetary, tax, trade, and other government policies that…

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Additional Readings

Grice-Hutchinson, Marjorie, eds. The School of Salamanca: Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory 1544-1605. Oxford: Oxford at Clarendon Press, 1952.

Grabill, Stephen J., eds. Sourcebook in Late-Scholastic Monetary Theory: The Contributions of Martin de Azpilcueta, Luis de Molina, S.J., and Juan de Mariana, S.J., Lanham: Lexington Books, 2007.

Aquinas, Thomas. On Law, Morality, and Politics. Edited by William P. Baumgarth and Richard J. Regan. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988.

Chafuen, Alejandro A. Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2003.

Huerta de Soto, Jesús. Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2009.

Peutinger, Conrad. “Legal Opinion on the Concept of Monopoly.” Translated from German text by the Walter Eucken Institut for a Liberty Fund conference, Bleibach, Germany, May 14–17, 1998.

Streider, Jacob. Jacob Fugger the Rich: Merchant and Banker of Augsburg, 1459-1525. Washington, D.C.: BeardBooks, 1931.