Religion & Liberty Online

Chafuen celebrates Catalan critic of socialism

Jaime Balmes was a young Catalan priest who died 170 years ago and is largely forgotten today. But Alejandro Chafuen, Acton’s Managing Director, International, believes that Balmes deserves more attention for his economic ideas and his critiques of socialism.  Balmes was a priest, not an economist; nonetheless he contributed greatly to the intellectual history of Spain with his ideas on marginal utility and the paradox of value. Balmes, Chafuen writes, “tried to combine the best theology with the best science.”

Unfortunately, Balmes died at the early age of 38 from tuberculosis, which “deprived us of seeing the intellectual evolution of a privileged thinker.”  Balmes developed many of his ideas well before even Carl Menger, making him truly “ahead of his time.”

The full text of Alejandro Chafuen’s Forbes article honoring Jaime Balmes can be found here.