The history of ideas is full of attempts to construct a conceptual apparatus to facilitate discussions of the workings of economic structures and of justice in interpersonal relations, cultural institutions and the social order. The aim of this volume is to provide up-to-date summaries of such ideas on economic issues and social justice which have been brought forward in each historic period from antiquity to early modern times. The emphasis is on the Near Eastern and Mediterranean background of western European culture from the world of the Old Testament and the ancient Greeks through to Spanish scholasticism and its offshoots in the Spanish Americas down to the 18th century. The 13 contributing scholars have each in his or her own way investigated the actual surviving writings from their specialist periods, along with their own or other modern interpretations. The essays presented here do not pretend to argue for a particular definition or concept of economic science or to determine its origins nor to define social justice, but rather to draw attention to the ideas of writers from the past that relate to relevant concepts in modern discussions of economic activity and social obligations.
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