Subject Area: Pesch, Heinrich
This is the first English translation of the works of Heinrich Pesch, SJ (1854-1926). Pesch, a German Jesuit scholar and economist, wrote the longest, most exhaustive economics text ever written, one that deserves to be regarded as a kind of Summa Economica. The five-volume Lehrbuch der Nationalökonomie examines all serious economic thinking up until Pesch’s time, culling what was deficient, retaining what was worthwhile, and filling in what its author perceived to be lacking. The result was a design for an economic system that is opposed to both classically liberal capitalism and state socialism, based instead on Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophical premises. Pesch developed many of the basic principles which emerged in the social encyclicals of the Catholic Church.
Pesch establishes human work as the principle source of economic wealth and prosperity. He presents three principal pillars of social order: the family, the state, and the institution (private ownership). There follows a refutation of the individualistic and collectivistic social philosophies as underlying free market capitalism and socialism respectively. In place of these, Pesch presents for the first time solidarism based on mutual support and interdependence among workers and owners. Concludes with a distinctive methodological preparation for his analysis of the economy. He points out the flaws of a mechanistic approach to what is inherently a human and social science and in the attempt to isolate economic activity values are neglected such as ethics and religion.2002 0-7734-7135-9
Book 2 presents the preceding and alternative economic systems (mercantilism, physiocracy, individualistic systems and socialism) in contrast with Pesch's own proposed system: the Solidaristic System of Human Work. There follows the analysis of national wealth and its two principal dispositional bases: natural resources and population (that is the work force).2002 0-7734-6958-3
Pesch examined how older economic systems were the nature and cause of national wealth. It was done in terms of social systems of human work through the study of its territory, geography and people. It is more than a historical discovery; this also volume considers Malthusian analysis in the equation of a nation's economic strength.2002 0-7734-6960-5
Pesch analyzes the various causes underlying national wealth and income. Geography, climate, population and history are considerable factors in the economic well being of a nation. Population structures are prominent as health, race, nationality, education and culture impact the national economic order. Pesch examines how morality, religion, namely Christianity, vocation, estates and classes related to the distinctive layers of national economic functions.2002 0-7734-6914-1
For Pesch, economics rests on the premise that enterprise and property, though primarily private, are to serve the interests of the common good. The factors of production: the labor force, suppliers, distribution and consumption, must work together to serve the common good. Pesch emphasizes the power of the individual in this process and how labor and vocational groups are established to offer solidarity. The Principle of Subsidarity applies in assistance to the individual moving the economic order forward.2002 0-7734-6916-8
Organizing labor and economics along occupational rather than class lines is an expression of solidarity that enhances occupations and industries in support of a national economy. Pesch regards this as natural and necessary in modern economies. Pesch argues that a living wage as well as labor organizations and unions are a natural right. The role of the state is to assist in the performance of tasks which the individual(s) cannot do completely on their own. In the particular book, Pesch clearly defines the Principle of Subsidiarity in its relationship to the nature of human society and economic order.2002 0-7734-6813-7
The economic process and task of the economy is examined. Pesch determines that the satisfaction of the wants of the population who constitute a national economy ultimately determine the direction of a nation's economic order. Basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) as well as "special" or luxury needs are presented in terms of both purely economic and moral aspects. Pesch discusses how production, and the use of technology, is utilized in satisfying those needs. The impact of wage levels and hours of work effect how production moves toward fulfilling the needs of economy.2002 0-7734-6815-3
Pesch examines the means of production from a broader perspective in economic life as both natural and technical. He describes the factor of production as the "produced means of production." Pesch regards man rather than labor as the leading primary factor of production. He refutes Marx's ideas of the means of production. Pesch deals with the capitalistic concept of enterprise and capitalism itself offering his definitions that clarify this economic system.2003 0-7734-6678-9
Pesch explores the exchange process which involves an analysis of value and pricing process for goods. Central to Pesch's solidaristic system is the concept of the just price. He does not accept the concept that the market, when left to its own resources, determines the price. Instead Pesch introduces new modern economic thinking that constitutes how prices should be determined based on a moral basis. He discusses stages in the economic process: exchange and income determination and deals with money and the banking system, foreign exchange, and entrepreneurial income.2003 0-7734-6680-0
This is the final work in Pesch's groundbreaking magnum opus. He expands upon the just wage doctrine in discussion since the social encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891). Pesch states that workers should share in the profits of the company, be allowed to organize and work in humane conditions. His work is incorporated into the social encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1931). Pesch warns against the abuses of capitalism, coming from entrepreneurial income stemming from ownership of capital and land, and the worst extremes of runaway inflation. Pesch demonstrates the need for insurance programs to care for the injured worker and the unemployed and for just treatment of the poor. Pesch designates as distortions in the economic process economic crises, the strike and lockout. He calls on workers and employers to moderate their differences and to establish a community that is a solidaristic system intent on building a better national economy.2000 0-7734-7798-5
In Die philosophischen Grundlagen des ökonomischen Liberalismus (1899), Pesch addressed the revival of liberal economics, that is, the free-market, deregulation and a laissez-faire economic philosophy. Pesch traced what he considered its flawed roots in Enlightenment philosophy. He moved it forward to a more progressive thought that utilized the natural law operating ineluctably in economics. This work appears especially relevant in terms of the recent and ongoing revival of liberal economics. Pesch traced it what he perceived as its flawed roots in Enlightenment philosophy, and carried it forward to evolutionist thinking, and to subsequent efforts to see ‘natural laws’ operating ineluctably in economics as in the physical sciences.
Mellen Press is honored to publish, in this multi-volume set, the first English translations of the works of Heinrich Pesch, SJ (1854-1926). A Jesuit economist who developed many of the basic economic and social principles (notably the Principle of Solidarism) that emerged from the social encyclicals of the Catholic Church beginning in 1931 with Pope Pius XI and further developed by Pope John Paul II.2000 0-7734-7594-X
Pesch's Freiwirtschaft oder Wirtschaftsordnug (1901) introduced, for the first time, what he perceived as key components of the solidaristic economic system, the system which he would subsequently devise as an alternative to free-market capitalism, as well as to socialism. It is here that Pesch established his Principle of Subsidiarity. Pesch's concept was that the state's role in economic activity was to compliment the activities of other social entities such as cooperative organizations, labor unions etc... This revolutionary idea was later incorporated into Pope Pius XI's social encyclical QUADRAGESIMO ANNO (1931).2001 0-7734-7587-7
First published in 1900, Das Privateigentum als sociale Institution, was Pesch's work on the right of private ownership. Pesch's priestly training in the Aristotelian-Thomistic was reflected in this book as he stood in opposition to the absolutistic notion which had resurfaced in the modern world under the influence of both the Enlightenment and socialist thought. The right of private ownership became one of the pillars in Pesch's social order which was subsequently adopted in later Catholic social thought.2001 0-7734-7482-X
In Der christliche Staatsbegriff (1898) Pesch established the foundation for social order, inclusive of economic social order, in the form of a society with the common good rather than the good of a particular individual as its object. He refutes modern socialism. Pesch's focus was on the virtue of justice in the establishment of proper order in society including the state. He explained the traditional aspects of justice: commutative, distributive, general and legal. In his analysis of distributive justice, Pesch suggested that income tax, a function of the state, be levied on a progressive basis as a means of justice and equity.2006 0-7734-5782-8
Pesch viewed modern socialism as a reaction to the perception of the harmful consequences of unregulated free marketeering. In Der moderne Socialismus (1900), Pesch was prophetic in his analysis of the implications of reduced wages in economically advanced nations; deregulation of industries and the free market ideology in relationship to private property and the public interest.