Agenda for Future Research and Action
This concluding paper summarizes the main messages from the book about the restoration of economics as a moral science. It is argued that economics, unlike the natural sciences, does not have an ontologically objective subject, because economic life, unlike matter, is the product of human intentionality. Economic phenomena are always necessarily incommensurate because they occur in historical time and space.
People make their economic decisions by employing practical knowledge (or wisdom). Practical knowledge is the human capacity for the reflective and critical evaluation of our reasons for action. It is the totality of our capacities – including feelings, tastes, experience, impulses and rational reasoning – ordered and filtered to critically evaluate sources of our lives we engage and deploy in making decisions. Accordingly, economics is a form of practical knowledge or reason.
Gift and gratuitousness are basic facts of human life. Persons, communiti es and organizations are endowed with natural, social, cultural and spiritual wealth as free gift. In their economic functioning they should acknowledge, preserve and enrich their material and non-material heritage. The adequate response to gratuitous giving is gratefulness and generosity toward those who provided the gift.