Deep Economy: Caring for Ecology, Humanity and Religion

By Hans Dirk van Hoogstraten

An analysis of the ecological and theological dimensions of the world economy, showing how we need to rethink our ideas of life and death, wealth and work.

ISBN: 9780227679654


Both true and false notions of connection exist in society and in the human imagination. In this work, economic and ecological claims of supposed connectedness are compared on a profound level. Starting with an historical analysis of the ethical and economic thought of Aristotle and Adam Smith, the two main representatives of the first and second waves of Enlightenment, this discussion clarifies the value of the term ‘deep economy’.

Concern about current ecological problems often confronts us with the history, theories, and experiences of natural and spiritual connectedness. This book adds an indispensable factor. It urges us to take into serious account the actual state of economic affairs.

Discussion of the clash between ecology and economy has long been avoided, due to the paralysis it threatens. Dr. Van Hoogstraten, however, searched for a paramount view, and found it in religion. In his in-depth discussion of the character of both ecology and economy, the hidden religious pretensions of both fields are uncovered. A merely moral approach to the economy’s devastating effects is deemed ineffective: the author offers readers a perspective beyond good and evil. The adoption of this Nietzschean approach he calls ‘facing the fate’.

Exposing unexplored, forgotten treasures in Jewish wisdom, Deep Economy lays out a possible way to proceed towards a new connectedness. He confronts us with the necessity of rethinking conceptions of life and death, sex and birth, wealth and work. He convincingly questions and explores hidden places, both in society as a whole and in human imagination, where basic decisions concerning living together are made.

Unlike established economic thought, Deep Economy leads us through global economy’s aspects of exclusion and enrichment, of curse and blessing, to the author’s unique world-view presented in this book. Call it a provoking textbook for class discussion, a talking piece for politicians and political scientists, a philosophical work for economists, an interpretative study for theologians and philosophers to work with – or call it Deep Economy.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 192

Trade Information JGEN

About the Author

Hans Dirk van Hoogstraten studied theology and philosophy at Utrecht and Amsterdam. He has been a professor at Nijmegen and a visiting professor at universities in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Cape Town. He now divides his time between writing, lecturing at several universities and other institutions, and presiding over the Institute of Deep Economy and Ethics at Amsterdam (IDEE).



1. Deep Ecology and Deep Economy
2. Deep Ecology and the Common Good
3. Creation, Nature and Dualism
4. Population, Life and Death
5. Environmental Ethics: Division and Connection