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Biblical Economics and Order Ethics: Constitutional Economic and Institutional Economic Roots of the Old Testament
chapterposted on 27.10.2015, 12:00 by Sigmund Wagner-Tsukamoto
Order ethics emerged in the first half of the 20th century in the German-speaking world. It shares many conceptual parallels with constitutional and institutional economics, as pioneered by Buchanan, North, or Williamson in the second half of 20th-century USA. The article draws on such conceptual parallels for setting out how concepts of order ethics, through the identification of institutional and constitutional economic principles, can be reconstructed for the Old Testament text. The paper demonstrates that this endeavour succeeds in high degrees. Conceptual ideas like dilemma structure, the homo economicus, interactions over capital exchange, institutional rule structures, and mutual gains as interaction outcome, as they delineate constitutional and institutional economics, can be identified for key stories of the Old Testament. I focus on the Torah, specifically the paradise story, the Jacob stories, the Joseph stories, the stories of the exodus events, and the stories of the settlement phase, when the Israelites were led by Joshua, Saul, David and Solomon. These stories belong to the oldest and best-known parts of the Old Testament.