PD Dr. Reiner Manstetten, Heidelberg/Leipzig

The project entitled "the dark side of the economy" sits at the interface between religion and economics. The originally religious and theological question of evil is one of evils and suffering in the world, as well as of wickedness and its roots in mankind. Directed at the economy, it is a question of the extent to which the structures of modern economics and the typical motivations of economic players systematically lead to social injustice and the destruction of natural livelihoods. The aim of the project is to shed light upon the intellectual foundations of the current dominant approach to economics, the liberal market economy, a task which is likely to touch upon the problem of evil. It also becomes clear that this is a question which needs to be asked, particularly in the face of modern economic sciences. In addition, the project is investigating the metaphysical and anthropological requirements of different economic blueprints, from Aristotle via Smith and Marx to 20th century liberalism. This should also prompt dialogue between theology on the one hand and economics and the social sciences on the other.


Hirschman, A. (1987): Leidenschaften und Interessen [original title: The Passions and the interests]. Translated from English by S. Offe. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Manstetten, R. (2000): Das Menschenbild der Ökonomie. Der homo oeconomicus und die Anthropologie von Adam Smith [Economics’ conception of man. Homo oeconomicus and the anthropology of Adam Smith]. Freiburg: Alber Verlag. 

Manstetten, R. (2004): "Wirtschaft und Menschenwürde" ["Economy and human dignity"]. In: Studia philosophica. Annual of the Swiss Philosophical Society, vol. 63, pp. 189-210.

Sedlacek, T. (2012): Die Ökonomie von Gut und Böse [original title: Economics of Good and Evil]. Translated by Ingrid Proß-Gill. Munich: Hanser.