Business Ethics in the School of Salamanca

  • André Azevedo AlvesEmail author
  • José Manuel Moreira


The School of Salamanca consisted of a distinct group of Iberian scholastics of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that worked mostly within a Thomistic framework and developed it in order to deal with the European expansion into the “New World” and to make sense of the important ethical issues arising from the rapid growth of commercial and financial activity in this period. After briefly reviewing the socioeconomic and cultural context of the School and its intellectual background, this chapter surveys their main contributions for business ethics, namely, on the legitimacy and limits of property rights, the ethical evaluation of commerce, justice in contracts, just price theory, banking and interest, taxation and regulation, and human rights and international law. It is shown that the School of Salamanca provided important contributions for the understanding of the operation of market processes and for business ethics by relying on a realistic natural law framework that emphasizes the ethical, legal, and anthropological foundations of the market economy.


Commerce Common good Contracts Justice Just price theory Late Scholasticism Market economy Monopolies School of Salamanca Regulations Taxes Usury Interest Thomism Francisco de Vitoria Domingo de Soto Luis de Molina 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social, Political and Territorial SciencesGOVCOPP – University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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