Skip to main content

The Good Economy Series

City Scape

2016 marks the 125th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking encyclical, Rerum novarum, “On the Conditions of Labor.” This document initiated a new era of public dialogue and engagement between the Catholic Church and the modern “social question”—the opportunities, problems, and dangers wrought by the industrial revolution.

Leo used the Catholic tradition to engage and evaluate the modern economy’s nature and purposes, as well as the roles of states and citizens, businesses and workers, and civic associations and families in addressing economies’ capacity to generate reasonable levels of material well-being and flourishing for all. Recognizing the vast differentials of power across a complex, international, and increasingly global economic system, Leo focused particular attention on the plight of the poor and workers struggling to eke out basic livings for themselves and their families.

Since Pope Leo's Day, the Catholic Church has continued to reflect on and to promote economic practices that serve community members' sustenance and well-being. A defining feature of this Modern Catholic Social Tradition (MCST) has been its confidence in all people’s capacity to understand, embrace, and collaborate toward the common good in its cultural, political, economic, and ecological aspects.

Some of the primary themes of series include:

  • What is a Good Economy?
  • Globalization and Financial Markets
  • Ecologically and Humanly Sustainable Economies
  • Work and Livelihood
  • Prosperity and Poverty
  • Gender, Class, Race-Ethnicity and Economy

The Good Economy: Disciplinary and Practical Perspectives

The Good Economy: Disciplinary and Practical Perspectives is a multi-year project that aims to advance the dialogue on issues surrounding good economic theory and practice, through initiatives that:

  • Engage in and foster multi-disciplinary scholarly analysis of key economic topics engaged by MCST, focusing on sources, methods, theory and practices

  • Bring MCST into conversation with relevant disciplinary and professional fields of practice (especially business, social and public service, civic associations and movements)

  • Examine intersections between MCST and economic thought and practice in various arenas (church, governmental, business, education, activist, associational – unions, civic organizations, families/households) past and present

  • Create and disseminate scholarly, pedagogical, creative and popular media designed to engender and support reflection and action informed by MCST's focal themes

  • Raise awareness of and critical engagement with MCST within the academy, churches, and wider society