Religion as DUP Activity

Bhagwati, Jagdish N.; Srinivasan, T. N.

Can religion be rescued from the dark recesses of our souls and brought into the intellectual folds of the dismal discipline of Economics? Along with mortal suicide and divorce, divine Providence should be readily vulnerable to the desiccated diagnosis of conventional economics. At the same time, a quiet contemplation of the social scene on Sundays in Christian countries, if not a pleasurable afternoon spent with G.K. Chesterson's entertaining Father Brown, immediately suggests that organized religion, where man must stand on the shoulders of other men to reach out to the heavens above, may be yet another DUP (directly-unproductive, profit-seeking) activity whose implications can be analyzed in the spirit of the unconventional public-choice-theoretic approach to economics. Below, therefore, we proceed to center our analysis on organized religion as indeed a DUP-theoretic phenomenon, revealing to our readers the Truth for their Enlightenment. In an Appendix, we then consider the heresies of Dixit and Grossman (1984) who, in a contribution laced with frivolity and wit (which we seek to preserve here), have preceded us with an analysis of organized religion which they christened with characteristic inspiration as Directly Unproductive Prophet-seeking Activity.



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January 30, 2013