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

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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.

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