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Christianisme orthodoxe et économie dans le sud-est européen contemporain

Orthodox Christianity and Economic Development: A Critical Overview

Christianisme orthodoxe et développement économique : un aperçu critique
El cristianismo ortodoxo y el desarrollo económico: síntesis crítica
Vasilios N. Makrides
p. 23-43


Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has opened a debate that continues up to this day concerning the impact of religious beliefs on economic dispositions, attitudes and actions. His main thesis was subsequently tested in a variety of national, cultural and religious contexts including the Orthodox Christian. Weber himself, being familiar to some extent with the Russian Orthodox case, had occasionally expressed the view that this type of Christianity was too otherworldly-oriented to produce any significant economic ethic and to influence accordingly society and culture. This issue has been discussed subsequently in both Orthodox and non-Orthodox countries with diverging opinions and evaluations. In general, there was a widespread view that Orthodox Christianity is partly responsible for the overall underdevelopment of Eastern and South Eastern Europe, including in the economic realm. This debate resurfaced after several Orthodox countries from the former Eastern Bloc began a process of democratization, liberalization and transition to the free market economy. In this context, there were several critical voices pointing to a rather negative correlation between Orthodox Christianity and economic development. In turn, these critiques were met by various responses, mostly from the Orthodox world, referring to Orthodox cultural and religious specificities. The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical overview of this entire issue drawing on various periods of Orthodox history and examples from selected Orthodox cultures that illustrate the complexity and multidimensionality of the question and the need for more nuanced interpretations that defy unidirectional and stereotypical views.

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Applying the Weberian paradigm to the Orthodox case
How different were Byzantine and Latin economies?
Successful Orthodox entrepreneurship and church economic activities
Post-communist and other legacies
Concluding remarks

Anteprima del testo

A cursory look at both the older and more recent literature on modernization and religion in countries with a predominant Orthodox culture suffices to show that the relationship between Orthodox Christianity (commonly called Orthodoxy) and modernity has been viewed as problematic, if not outspokenly negative (Makrides, 2012a). This is because, for historical and other reasons, Orthodox societies have largely stayed outside the realm of West European modernity and have thus been only partially influenced by it. The long Ottoman domination over the Balkans, as well as the multidimensional gap between Tsarist Russia and Western Europe account for this. Another important reason for this lag can be found in the pervasive Orthodox anti-Westernism, initially triggered by the historical tension and separation between the two Christian worlds in the East and West. Modernity with its major facets (e.g., rationalization, secularization, individualization) as a West European phenomenon was view...

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Riferimento cartaceo

Vasilios N. Makrides, « Orthodox Christianity and Economic Development: A Critical Overview », Archives de sciences sociales des religions, 185 | 2019, 23-43.

Riferimento elettronico

Vasilios N. Makrides, « Orthodox Christianity and Economic Development: A Critical Overview », Archives de sciences sociales des religions [Online], 185 | janvier-mars 2019, Messo online il 01 janvier 2022, consultato il 22 février 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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© Archives de sciences sociales des religions

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