St. Francis, the original capitalist?

St. Francis, the original capitalist?

This is interesting. Some Italian scholars are saying that St. Francis, not Adam Smith, was the root of the theories of capitalism and modern economics. It’s a stretch, I know, but interesting nonetheless. Among their claims, they say that Franciscan theologians’ redefinition of a games of chance from immoral to good cleared the way for okay on contracts based on risk.

The surprises are startling. It was Franciscan reflection on voluntary poverty that recognized the material possession of goods as a natural and universal human desire.

From their voluntary choice and the primacy accorded to the individual, following in the footsteps of Saint Augustine, the Franciscans carved out an economic theory completely centered on the contracting subject and intersubjective contracts.

The article also notes the anitpathy for this theory and for capitalism itself among Catholic leaders.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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