In order to achieve the maximum of economy, I shall mention only a very few representative names and then attempt to draw a systematic sketch of what I conceive the state of scholastic economics to have been about 1600. Other names, of course, would have to be mentioned for other purposes; we are artificially narrowing down what was a very broad and deep stream.
For the fourteenth century we choose Buridanus and Oresmius as representatives. The latter’s treatise on money is usually described as the first treatise entirely devoted to an economic problem. But it is mainly legal and political in nature and really does not contain much strictly economic material—in particular, nothing that was not current doctrine among the scholastics of the time—its chief purpose being to combat the prevalent practice of debasing money, a topic that was treated later on in a copious literature to be briefly noticed presently. Our fifteenth-century representatives will be St. Antonine of Florence, perhaps the first man to whom it is possible to ascribe a comprehensive vision of the economic process in all its major aspects, and Biel. For the sixteenth century we select Mercado and, as representatives of the literature on Justice and Law (De justitia et jure) that in the sixteenth century became the main scholastic repository of economic material, the three great Jesuits whose works have been recently analyzed by Professor Dempsey—Lessius, Molina, and de Lugo.
1. Schumpeter, Joseph A. History of Economic Analysis. New York: Oxford UP, 1954. Print. 94-95.