Sustainability and Political Economy: A Lonerganian Approach to Global Economic Crisis

By Cyril Orji.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 20, 2015 $US5.00

Economic theorists predict that recession almost always inevitably follows a period of economic growth. Nowhere has this theory been illustrated better than the United States where the economic boom of the 1990s was followed by the financial meltdown of the 2007/2008 years that financially stressed the world economy to a degree and proportion not seen since the Great Depression. The Canadian Jesuit philosopher, theologian, and economist, Bernard Joseph Lonergan (1904-84) was critical of twentieth century economic theories. He also observed that what the main variants of traditional market economy and modern transactional economy and giant or multi-national corporations exemplify are ideologically driven. He offered an analysis of this ideology generally in terms of “bias,” which leads to “basic sin.” The present global economic recession falls under the stricture of “basic sin”—the human failure to choose a morally obligatory course of action. “Basic sin” is metaphor for instantiation of evil as an “unplanned moral disorder that may not be intended.” This essay offers Lonergan’s own economic theory, which he worked out in the context of the Church’s response to structures of exclusion and violence as a heuristic for understanding the “irrationality” of the global economic mess. The suggestion here is that Lonergan’s account of sin and soteriology offers a credible alternative for recovery.

Keywords: Political Economy, Global Economic Recession, Bernard Lonergan, Philip McShane

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 11, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.33-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 20, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 625.550KB)).

Dr. Cyril Orji

Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, The University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA