Xoán de Lugo (1583-1660) was the last representative of the School of Salamanca, name given to a tradition of thought that includes a group of scholastics who taught theology and morals in the universities of Salamanca and Coimbra. These scholars anticipated many of the contributions to economic theory developed later by the Austrian School of Economics.
Xoán de Lugo was born in Madrid in 1583. His parents belonged to aristocratic galician families. He joined the Compañía de Jesús and studied Theology in Salamanca. After completing his studies, he served as profesor of philosophy and theology in several places, one of them Monforte de Lemos, before being appointed cardinal by the pope Urban VIII. He died in Rome in 1660 at the age of 76.
In his work Xoán de Lugo was able to anticipate essential features of the Austrian School of Economics such as the dynamic nature of the market and the impossibility of the equilibrium model.
His most famous work is De Iustitia et Iure, published in 1642, in which he makes important contributions to economic theory, explaining how the market price of a given good is formed through the subjective valuation of people and the interaction of a multitude of individuals. Since this valuation does not depend on any objective quality of the given good but on the preferences of different individuals (with whom we might coincide or not) the just price of a given good is always its market price.
Since the origin of economic phenomena is found in the interaction between different individual valuations and choices, Xoán de Lugo considered individual human beings (and their freedom) as the main actors of society.