EXC 2060 B3-8 - Specutation, Contract and Religion
For one part, this project will examine the influence of Christianity and Islam on the debate on the economic rationale and ethical justification of speculation and its regulation. While the classic scholars of economics generally view speculation favorably, the various religious communities mostly take a negative view. Increasingly, economists today postulate a coexistence of "good" and "bad" speculation, particularly in the newer empirical research on capital markets as well as in Behavioral Economics. Whether the debate on speculation can truly be told as a story of the good speculator, willing to take a risk, and the bad speculator as a "parasitic leech on the healthy national economy" or at least an irrational, uninformed "noise trader", shall be analyzed in the course of this project. For another part, we will examine the role religion has played in the development of today's doctrine of contract law. My sub-project focuses on the influence of religion on pre-contractual ties and on the conclusion of contract itself. Particularly agreements made prior to the conclusion of contract are directly linked to the topic of speculation: Important manifestations of pre-contractual commitments like the option contract combined with the classic futures contract can be branched out into an almost infinite number of derivatives, whose complexity is often used as an example for "bad speculation". Yet these contracts can help reduce risk and therefore limit speculation.