Economics of Good and Evil

Book presentation and reception


The main argument advanced by Mr Sedlacek was that economics has never been a value-free mathematical inquiry; that it has always been ultimately about good and evil, just like other cultural phenomena. Using the example of interest rates, Mr Sedlacek explained the development of this cornerstone of current world economy from ancient societies to today’s consumerism. ‘While ancient societies warned against the use of interest rate, today’s economy could not exist without this notion,’ he explained.

Andrea Karlova countered that point while noting that the use of mathematical models and numbers in economics has been part of this discipline since early ages of human society.

Michal Horvath contended that even though Mr Sedlacek’s book attempted to disqualify a myth of economics, it created a new myth – one of economists’ unlimited belief in their mathematical models. Peter Oppenheimer stated that the scepticism of Mr. Sedlacek’s book reflected the disappointment of his generation in Eastern Europe from the negative effects of the economic transition during the 1990s from socialism to capitalism.

 The debate was moderated by PAUL FLATHER, Mansfield College & Europaeum


 Professor PETER OPPENHEIMER, Emeritus Professor, Christ Church College, Univeristy of Oxford

TOMAS SEDLACEK, Author, "Economics of Good and Evil"

MICHAL HORVATH, Research Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

ANDREA KARLOVA, Mathematician, Oxford-Man Institute

Organised by Kubo Macak & Martina Kovacova