Maurice Potron (1872-1942) is a French Jesuit and a talented mathematician. A recent rediscovery of his economic model, which was left unnoticed in his times, lets Potron appear as a pioneer, both for the framework he conceived and the mathematical methods he used. Moreover, there are hints that his model was inspired by the social doctrine of the Church, as modernized by the encyclical Rerum Novarum. The present study on Potron’s life shows that his family and himself, who lived in a time of tensions between the Church and the French Republic, were involved in the new forms of action inspired by or following the encyclical. The biography follows the steps of the rediscovery of his works.
Keywords: Maurice Potron, Social doctrine of the Church, Rerum Novarum.
Although Maurice Potron’s mathematical-economic model was clearly based on Christian principles, he almost never explained the links between his model and the doctrine of the Church. This paper explores the possible sources of inspiration of Potron. We look at his family background, his Jesuit network, the Encyclical Rerum Novarum, the Semaines Sociales de France, and the Action Populaire movement. What emerges is that Potron proceeded in a very original and personal way, constructing a model incomparable to anything which existed at the time.
Keywords: Maurice Potron, Linear production model, Social doctrine of the Church, Rerum Novarum.
Production prices are those exchange-values which, if adopted, put each industry in the conditions to repeat its production process. In this sense they appear as necessary prices. This notion is here compared with that of ‘just’ price, studied by the older moral philosophers (more so than by economists). Production prices appear thus as that concept that comes closer to the notion of just price. On similar grounds, some recent results, which have emerged within the classical and post-Keynesian approaches, have been employed here to envisage the elements that characterize a ‘necessary’ income distribution configuration and a ‘necessary’ level of the rate of interest.
Keywords: Production prices, Necessary prices, Just price, Modern classical approach, Normative analysis, ‘Necessary’ income distribution, ‘Necessary’ rate of interest.
The paper investigates if, during the concrete undertaking of economic activities, an actual and not fortuitous application of the doctrine of the just price has actually taken place. We investigate its application in government bodies (rationing boards) at the local community level during the phase in which the prices of basic necessities such as bread were fixed.
Keywords: Just price, Modern age, Necessaries, Local government.
This paper discusses the possibility of applying the insights provided by the doctrine of the just price to the current debate about contractual justice. After summarizing the just price doctrine and addressing the objections traditionally raised against it, the paper identifies the role that just price theory could play in contemporary contract law and suggests a general standard of proportionality in exchange as a constraint on the full application of freedom of contract.
Keywords: Contractual justice, Just price, Standards of fairness, Proportionality, Empirical economic research.