Middle Ages Economics as a product of moral and political dogma rather than economic thinking

30 Jul

The middle ages covered a period of about one thousand years. Although scholars tend to disagree on the exact dates it’s believed to have extended from the fall of the romans in AD 476 to about 1500. A lot of scholars have come to believe that economic thinking in the Middle Ages was highly dominated by moral and political dogma rather than economic thinking. This they said because of the so many doctrinal backgrounds upon which this particular school of thought and its disciples advocated. Discussing the reason for this believes we shall be focusing our discussion on Thomas Aquinas a major intellectual of this school of thought. He personally made contributions to just price with respect to selling and buying, profit making and loans. Aquinas particularly said all goods must be sold at just price; a price defined as sufficient to maintain the seller at his customary standard of living. he also spoke of wages basing his argument on the Christian principle that states a labourer as being worthy of his labour but the wage must also be the just wage which is simply the wage that can keep the worker healthy to maintain his standard of living and level of contribution to production.
This school of thought chaired by Aquinas saw poverty as a catalyst for sin and crimes, at such it’s obvious that they were maintaining peace and order in that era based on religious a dogma that anyone who commits sin was heading to hell. People coexisted purely with the church administration because they were given a reason to live which was the end of times i.e making it to heaven and not hell. These religious doctrines guided all their actions in this era.
In buying and selling for instance it was believed that bargaining may tend to the advantage of one party which may result to the disadvantage of the other part. This singular act was regarded as an abnormality in divine law. Its reckoned unlawful if the equality of justice is not observed in buying and selling as its stated that he who had received more than he ought to must compensate the person that suffers the loss. This just price ideology was actually problematic as a little addition or substitution will bring about deviation. Laws like making restitutions were made and strictly followed in this era so a deviation from the supposed just price does not only render a person guilty of fraudulent sales, it also meant the person must make restitution.
Profit making was also controversial in this era as it was regarded as a means for satisfying the human greed which was discovered to have no limit and at such tends to infinity. Any trade that brought about exchange of money for money or any good sold for money but are not regarded as a necessity of life was regarded evil. This meant a seller luxury goods for instance sinning against the divine laws.
Loan issues were not left out as the discussed the sin of usury. Usury is a religious term used when loans are given out on interest. Just as we have earlier pointed out money was invented for the purpose of exchange and not for making more money according to this school of thought so interest on loans was seeing as unlawful.
All this issues discussed above were certainly being discussed from a constrained circumstance of religious dogma and political autocracy as the church was the governing body of all forms of trade in that era. The church being so wealthy was able to implement their own laws on the national economy. The result of these result of this far reaching thought led to the development of a new economic order.



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