Scarcity, economics and morality: the contribution of the late Iberian scholastics

André Azevedo Alves, Pedro Moreira

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review



While for many centuries Augustine and Christianity in general emphasized the provisional and hazardous character of earthly life, the Iberian scholastics of the Salamanca School were central actors in the development of a deeper, more positive, and arguably more affirmative outlook on worldly political and economic matters. In this paper, we attempt to show this transition through the evolution of the concept of ‘scarcity.’ Indeed, ‘scarcity’ is a central premise of positive modern economics but for many centuries this concept was used to high-light normative conclusions in the writings of medieval theologians. The Iberian scholastics were instrumental in a shift from normative to positive, trying to find better ways to cope with the material world and improve our earthly lives within an integrated philosophical and theological perspective. We will illustrate this through the study of Domingo de Soto, one of the Iberian scholastics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Phenomenon of Scarcity
Subtitle of host publicationBeing, Man and Society
EditorsElena Leontjeva, Aneta Vainė, Marija Vyšniauskaitė
Place of PublicationVilnius
PublisherLithuanian Free Market Institute
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789955868842
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Scarcity
  • Scholastics
  • Salamanca School
  • Domingo de Soto


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