The Just Price Theory of Leonardus Lessius

Brendan Gottschall, Fordham University

Abstract

“Is the owner of a good… allowed to sell it at any price?”, “Am I allowed to sell at the current price even though I know that the price of the good is about to fall?”, “Is the seller allowed to charge a higher price if he is selling on credit?”, “Are all kinds of monopoly unjust?” These are some of the questions addressed by Leonardus Lessius (1554-1623), Flemish Jesuit priest, doctor in philosophy and theology, and a significant moral thinker. These questions are still relevant in the 21st century, when economic discourse seems polarized between laissez-faire capitalism and radical redistributionism. Lessius’s just price theory represents a middle way that captures common moral sentiments and avoids falling into ideology. This thesis explicates Lessius’s just price theory in detail then evaluates it as an alternative or compliment to mainstream contemporary economics. In particular, by situating economics in the context of moral concerns about virtue and natural law, Lessius’s theory is a source ripe for further study by moral philosophers and theologians, economists and business ethicists.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Economics|Ethics

Recommended Citation

Gottschall, Brendan, "The Just Price Theory of Leonardus Lessius" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13426242.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI13426242

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