The rise of pure economics under a new form of scholasticism in view of the present socio-economic system


The mainstream of economics still stands on the elements of pure economics. On the contrary, new analytical tools outside the field of economics are thriving by focusing on the socio-economics system. We need examinations of new analytical tools and the ideas of equilibria. In modern times, socio-economic factors changing the economic system should no longer be regarded as negligible. The idea of reciprocity will urge to reconsider the traditional rationalism. In the depth of these objections against the mainstream, however, the so-called theological rationalism will be revealed. The bounded rationality principle then is not deviating from the track set by the traditional rationalism, but is rather an extended form of it. In this article, we will identify the mainstream of economics with a new form of scholasticism originated from Neo-Thomism based on the School of Salamanca rising during 16–18th century. Realities in general are distorted from the ideal state. Given such a distortion, in the scholastic view, human free will can be exerted in conformity with God’s will. The bigger the distortion, the more human free will can be justified. However, it requires a lengthier sufficiency proof with additional assumptions and conditions. The proof of ideal states may then require a more complicated modeling. The resulting fact that the degree of complication may be much greater in modeling is very welcome in the sense that this kind of work, occasionally involving mathematical refinements, could a fortiori provide economics with the ideal goal grounded by divine inspiration. The distortion should thus be spiritually purified. Moreover, we also provide a historical note on the formation of the mental sources of capitalism. Prior to the Austrian theory, the Salamanca school definitely took into account the harmony between reality and scholasticus. Here, an interesting pragmatic compatibility between the purity of God and the chaos fabricated by secular human greed arises, but it is well known that Weber (The Protestant ethic and the “Spirit” of capitalism and other writings. Penguin, Westminster, 1905) found the source of capitalism in Protestantism. In this context, however, we learned that another moral source of capitalism was found in Catholicism in the form of scholasticism, although it must be strictly suppressed the idea to summarize scholastic arguments as the main principle of Catholicism. Readers in advance must carefully keep from identify the modern Catholic School’s Charter of bonus commune (the common good) and the personalism with capitalistic individualism. Finally, we notice that bounded rationality is regarded as a sophisticated demonstration to vindicate rationalism in conformity with a traditional scholastic manner.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    See Aruka (2015a, 21–22) for detailed expositions on this issue.

  2. 2.

    See Sec. 5, Chap. 12 in Keynes (1936) on the part of his observation on price fluctuations in equity markets. As for a more comprehensive rethinking, see Helbing (2013), Helbing and Kirman (2013).

  3. 3.

    Faith in the mainstream of economics (Hodgson 2012, 48) may be equivalent to reason here.

  4. 4.

    See Leijonhufvud (1973).

  5. 5.

    See Mainzer (2007, 28). See also Thomas von Aquin: Summa contra gentiles. Lat./dt. Übers. K. Albers et. Alt., Darmstadt 2. Aufl. 1987, III, 74, 3.

  6. 6.

    “The Second Lateran Council condemned any repayment of a debt with more money than was originally loaned; the Council of Vienne explicitly prohibited usury and declared any legislation tolerant of usury to be heretical; the first scholastics reproved the charging of interest” (Wikipedia, “School of Salamanca”:

  7. 7.

    See Yagi (2008). See also Tawney (1926).

  8. 8.

    Schumpeter wrote, “So far as our subject is concerned we may leap over 500 years to the epoch of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) whose Summa Theologica is in the history of thought what the South-Western spire of the Cathedral of Chartres is in the history of architecture” (Schumpeter 1954, 74). In contrast, he regarded Aquinas’s economics as “strictly Aristotelian.” Mueller (2014, Chapter 2) wrote, “the formula of Scholastic economics is Aristotle + Augustine = Aquinas.” St. Augustine suggested “the theory of personal gift.” However, Schumpeter never appreciated the theory in the context of economics. Hossein (2003, 29) also criticized Schumpeter to de-emphasize the rediscovery of Aristotle’s writings. Here, however, we will not discuss whether Schumpeter (1954) rightly recognized the essence of neo-Thomism or not.

  9. 9.

    “Diego de Covarrubias and Luis de Molina developed a subjective theory of value and prices, which asserted that the usefulness of a good varied from person to person, so just prices would arise from mutual decisions in free commerce, barring the distorting effects of monopoly, fraud, or government intervention” (Wikipedia, “School of Salamanca”:

  10. 10.

    An anonymous referee with super knowledge on Catholicism pointed out the big difference between the spiritual ideas of Catholicism and the so-called individualism demonstrated in economics. Some attempts are occasionally made to justify the notorious activities of the Jesus Society in establishing the foundation of capitalism. See Kuwabara (2009), 29.

  11. 11.

    The adjective “tropical” was coined by a French mathematician in honor of the Hungarian-born Brazilian mathematician Imre Simon, who pioneered the field. (Wikipedia:

  12. 12.

    Sometimes, min-plus is substituted with max-plus or min-times.

  13. 13.

    See, for example, Marrengo and Pasquali (2011, 2012).

  14. 14.

    We show an example later.

  15. 15.

    See, for example, Bowles and Gitis (2005), Gintis (2006, 7).

  16. 16.

    See Aruka (2015a, 145) concerning the difference between high and low complexity. Sequences with low complexity are more likely than those with high complexity, as we saw with DNA (Mainzer 2007, 156).

  17. 17.

    Goodwin (1950, 1951) as for an acceleration principle. See also Goodwin (1990) on chaotic economic dynamics in the context of Poincaré.

  18. 18.

    See Aoki and Yoshikawa (2007, 2012)

  19. 19.

    See Cook (2010). See also Aruka (2015a, 167–170): “ Generalized Central Limit Theorem (GCLT).”

  20. 20.

    See Klein (2007), an enlightening book.

  21. 21.

    See the following url:

  22. 22.

    See the “FuturICT” project led by Dirk Helbing:

  23. 23.

    See Aruka (2015a), particularly Chapter 4: “Matching Mechanism Differences Between Classical and Financial Markets.”

  24. 24.

    The law of value has often been discussed with a similar meaning as the law of supply and demand in classical political economy.

  25. 25.

    It is not unusual that the highest price amounts to twice the lowest price.

  26. 26. provides an environment for perfect competition.

  27. 27.

    The strict law indicates a strictly positive increase in demand as the price decreases. In contrast, the weak law includes a zero increase in reaction in terms of a non-negative increase.

  28. 28.

    See Hildenbrand (1994). See also Aruka (2015a): “2.2.4 The Demand Law as Solved by Hildenbrand (1994).”

  29. 29.

    It seems intuitively natural that the variance of expenditures among the richest is larger than that among average consumer because rich consumers are used to spending more for their particular purposes, such as purchasing ships or airplanes.

  30. 30.

    See Mainzer (2010, 219–219). See also Aruka (2015a, 29): “The smart grid system is managed by the negotiation algorithm, a kind of genetic algorithm, not by humans, as humans cannot operate at machine speed. But negotiation in a game theory situation is different from the negotiation algorithm by AI. Even if standard economics could include optimization in the negotiation process, its algorithm would require a loser, because the idea of optimization is not valid in the landscape of complex interactions of heterogeneous agents at high speed and/or frequency. The same problem also applies to the stock exchange.”

  31. 31.

    It arose from the productive methods and legal and organizational arrangements that we use to satisfy our needs. It therefore resulted from capturing of phenomena and subsequent combinations (Arthur 2009, 3).

  32. 32.

    Early technologies form using existing primitive technologies as components. These new technologies in time become possible components—building blocks—for the construction of further new technologies. Some of these in turn go on to become possible building blocks for the creation of yet newer technologies (Ibid, 21).

  33. 33.

    See, for example, Helbing and Lozano (2010) and Helbing et al. (2011).

  34. 34.

    TFT, i.e., “tit for tat” is a strategy in which one cooperates on the first move and subsequently echoes (reciprocates) what the other player did on the previous move. The name was given by Anatol Rapoport when Rober Axelod organized the iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournament in 1984.

  35. 35.

    TFT moves on both sides will conform to a cooperative viscosity in a game through some experimental retorts or the incorporation of the “trembling hand.” Here, “trembling hand” refers to an intentionally erroneous move.

  36. 36.

    See Axelrod (1984) for an expanded, detailed version.

  37. 37.

    There exist 16 strategy combinations in the two-person, two-strategy game where an agent’s memory reaches the last two periods 2. Pavlov’s strategy is one of these 16 strategies. It is known that Pavlov’s efficacy can cover a broad range of two-person, two-strategy games with any memory.

  38. 38.

    Lorenz (1965) believed that self-sacrifice exists in nature.

  39. 39.

    See Hawkins (2011) and Lux (2009).

  40. 40.

    Also see Gintis (2006, 4).


  1. Aoki M, Yoshikawa H (2007) Reconstructing macroeconomics: a perspective from statistical physics and combinatorial stochastic processes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  2. Aoki M, Yoshikawa H (2012) Non-self-averaging in macroeconomic models: a criticism of modern micro-founded macroeconomics. J Econ Interact Coord 7(1):1–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Arthur WB (1994) Increasing returns and path dependence in the economy. University of Michigan Press, Michigan

    Google Scholar 

  4. Arthur WB (2009) The nature of technology. Free Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  5. Aruka Y (2015a) Evolutionary foundations of economic science: how can scientists study evolving economic doctrines from the last centuries? Springer, Tokyo and New York (Evolutionary Economics and Social Complexity Science, vol 1)

  6. Aruka Y (2015b) The origin of pure economics and the neo-scholasticism. In: Yagi K et al (2015) Keizaigaku to keizaikyoiku no mirai. Sakurai-Shoten, Tokyo, pp 125–144 (in Japanese)

  7. Axelrod R (1984) The evolution of cooperation. Basic Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  8. Axelrod R, Hamilton WD (1981) The evolution of cooperation. Science 211:1390–1396

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bowles S, Gintis H (2005) Can self-interest explain cooperation? Evol Inst Econ Rev 2(1):21–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Coase RH (1960) The problem of social cost. J Law Econ 3:1–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Cook JD (2010) Central limit theorems., linked from Cook (2010): How the central limit theorem began?

  12. Gintis H (2006) Behavioral ethics meets natural justice. Politics Philos Econ 5:5–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gintis H (2009) The bounds of reason: game theory and the unification of the behavioral sciences. Princeton UP, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  14. Goodwin RM (1950) A nonlinear theory of the cycle. Rev Econ Stat 32:316–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Goodwin RM (1951) The nonlinear accelerator and the persistence of business cycles. Econometrica 19(1):1–17

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Goodwin RM (1990) Chaotic economic dynamics. Clarendon Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hamilton WD (1964) The genetical evolution of social behavior. J Theor Biol 7(1–16):17–52

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hawkins R (2011) Lending sociodynamics and economic instability. Phys A 390:4355–4369

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hayek F (1973) Law legislation and liberty, vol 1. Rules and order. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  20. Helbing D (2013) Economics 2.0: the natural step towards a self-regulating, participatory market society. Evol Inst Econ Rev 10(1):3–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Helbing D, Kirman A (2013) Rethinking economics using complexity theory. Real-World Econ Rev 64:23–51

    Google Scholar 

  22. Helbing D, Lozano S (2010) Phase transitions to cooperation in the prisoner’s dilemma. Phys Rev E 81(5):057102

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Helbing D, Yu W, Rauhut H (2011) Self-organization and emergence in social systems: modeling the coevolution of social environments and cooperative behavior. J Math Sociol 35(1-3):177–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hildenbrand W (1994) Market demand. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  25. Hodgson G (2012) From pleasure machines to moral communities: an evolutionary economics without homo economicus. Cambridge UP, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hossein HS (2003) Contributions of medieval Muslim scholars to the history of economics and their impact: a refutation of the Schumpetarian Great Gap. In Samuels WJ, Biddle JE, Davis JB (eds) Companion to the history of economic thought. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, Chapter 3

  27. Keynes JM (1936) The general theory of employment, interest and money. Macmillan, London (reprinted 2007)

    Google Scholar 

  28. Klein N (2007) The shock doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism. Knopf Canada (A Penguin Random House Company), Toronto

  29. Kono N (2008) Noncooperative game in cooperation: reformulation of correlated equilibria. Kyoto Econ Rev 77(2):107–125

    Google Scholar 

  30. Kono N (2009) Noncooperative game in cooperation: reformulation of correlated equilibria (II). Kyoto Econ Rev 78(1):1–18

    Google Scholar 

  31. Kono N (2011) Nash equilibria with negotiations. In Aoki M, Aoyama H, Aruka Y, Yoshikawa H (eds) Keizai-kyoshitsu no 50 keywords [Economics Classroom of 50 key words]. Tokyo-Tosho Publishing, Tokyo, pp 41–48 (no. 3) (in Japanese)

  32. Kuwabara K (2009) Salamanca school on globalization. Sophia Philosophica (Departmental Bulletin Paper 28-Feb-2009), pp 15–29 (in Japanese)

  33. Leijonhufvud A (1973) Life among the econ. West Econ J 11(3):327–337

    Google Scholar 

  34. Lorenz K (1965) Evolution and modification of behavior. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  35. Lux T (2009) Rational forecast or social opinion dynamics? Identification of interaction effects in a business climate survey. J Econ Behav Organ 72:638–655

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Mainzer K (2007) Der kreative Zufall: Wie das Neue in die Welt kommt. C. H. Beck, München

    Google Scholar 

  37. Mainzer K (2010) Leben als Maschine? Von der Systembiologie zur Robotik und Knstlichen Intelligenz. Mentis, Paderborn

  38. Marrengo L, Pasquali C (2011) The construction of choice: a computational voting model. J Econ Interact 6(1):139–156

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Marrengo L, Pasquali C (2012) How to get what you want when you do not know what you want: a model of incentives, organizational structure, and learning. Organ Sci 23(5):1298–1310

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Mill JS (1844) On the definition of political economy; and on the method of investigation proper to it. In: Collected Works of John Stuart Mill Essays on some unsettled questions of political economy, vol 4. Longmans, London (Library economics liberty:

  41. Mizuno T, Watanabe T (2010) A statistical analysis of product prices in online market. Eur Phys J B 76:501–505

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Mizuno T, Nirei M, Watanabe T (2010) Closely competing firms and price adjustment: some findings from an online marketplace? Scand J Econ 112(4):673–696

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Mueller JD (2014) Redeeming economics: rediscovering the missing element (culture of enterprise). Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Wilmington, Delaware

    Google Scholar 

  44. Nowak MA, Sigmund K (1993) A strategy of win-stay, lose-shift that outperforms tit for tat in Prisoner’s Dilemma. Nature 364 (6432):56–58. Bibcode:1993 Natur 364…56 N. doi:10.1038/364056a0

  45. Schumpeter JA (1954) History of economic analysis. Allen & Unwin, London (Edited from a manuscript by Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter)

    Google Scholar 

  46. Takizawa H (2014) Model-kagaku toshiteno keizaigaku [Economics as a modeling science and the methodology of J.S. Mill]. In: Shiozawa Y, Aruka Y (eds) Keizaigaku wo Saiken suru [Constructing economics in view of evolutionary economics and political economy]. Chuo University Press, Tokyo, Chapter 9 (in Japanese)

  47. Tawney RH (1926) Religion and the rise of capitalism: a historical study. Harcourt, Brace

    Google Scholar 

  48. Walras L (1874) Éléments d’économie politique pure, ou théorie de la richesse sociale (Elements of Pure Economics, or the theory of social wealth, transl. W. Jaffé), 1899, 4th ed.; 1926, rev ed., 1954, Engl. transl.

  49. Weber M (1905) Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus. In English: Baehr PR, Wells GC (eds) (2002) The Protestant ethic and the “Spirit” of capitalism and other writings. Penguin, London

  50. Yagi K (ed) (2008) Hi-seiouken no keizaigaku [Economics in the non-western area]. Nippon-Keizai-Hyoron-sha, Tokyo (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This paper was supported by JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) No. 26282089. It is noted that this paper is an extended detailed version of Aruka (2015b) written in Japanese.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yuji Aruka.

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Aruka, Y. The rise of pure economics under a new form of scholasticism in view of the present socio-economic system. Evolut Inst Econ Rev 12, 3–29 (2015).

Download citation


  • Thomism
  • Scholaticus
  • Pure ecomoics
  • Rationality
  • Bounded rationality

JEL Classification

  • A12
  • A13
  • B11
  • B41
  • B52