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Cajetans Economic Treatises: A Critique of Rothbards Proto-Austrian Portrayal

Philip Neri Reese


Although Murray Rothbard gave high praise to the economic teachings of Thomas de Vio Cardinal Cajetan, portraying him as proto-Austrian, this article argues that the reality is more complicated. Examining Cajetans three major economic works, On Monetary Exchange, On Charitable Pawnshops, and On Usury, it demonstrates that he could be in turn liberal, moderate, and conservative, depending on the particular context and question. It concludes that read within his own scholastic and pastoral approach, Cajetan may still have insights and contributions to offer the history of economics, but of a more mixed character than Rothbards portrayal.

Philip Neri Reese, "Cajetans Economic Treatises: A Critique of Rothbards Proto-Austrian Portrayal,"Journal of Markets & Morality 18, no. 2 (Fall 2015):349-371.

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