Ludwig von Mises’s Praxeology as the Foundation of Christian Economic Personalism

Abstract. What can an economist and agnostic tell a theologian about man? In contrast to mainstream economics, which today dominate all universities in the world, Ludwig von Mises (+1973) is interested in real man in action, not a fictitious homo oeconomicus. At one time Gregory M. A. Gronbacher (1998), an American philosopher, proposed a synthesis of Christian personalism  with the free market economy developed by the Austrian School of Economics. His idea prompted me to use Mises’s praxeology to understand and describe human action  in  the  socio-economic  sphere  from  the  perspective  of Catholic  Social Teaching. At that time I understood how important were economic laws for the proper moral evaluation of human action.

Mises in his treaty on economics Human Action developed his own anthropological  concept  of  man.  The  Austrian  economist  never  used the expression “person”  to  describe  and  analyze  human  action,  but  analyzing  his  economic system I was able to discover that he did not understand the free market economy as an abstract being composed of mechanical elements. According to him, the prerequisite for  human activity is  the desire to replace a less  satisfactory state of affairs  with  a more satisfying  one. Mises’s  man is guided  by his own scale of values and builds it up on the basis of a goal he freely chooses. Mises also  takes  into  account  that  the  market  is  only  a  part  of  reality  and  human activity.

Keywords: praxeology, Mises, christian, personalism

The Austrian economist does not speculate about economics, but he studies and discovers how a real person works in a world limited by the scarcity of external factors. Theology and Mises speak of man in action. Theology speaks of a person and his/her deeds, and Mises talks about an in-dividual and his activities in the economic sphere. They both use different words, but as a theologian I see that they contain the same concepts which define human action as free, intelligent, and transcendent. At the end of my work on Mises entitled Two people from Galicia I could have written that the anthropological basis of man in the Austrian economist’s writings is consistent with the Church’s vision of man.


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