Today’s late night article is a podcast appearance by Catholic writer and economist Tony Annett, whose book Cathonomics: how the Catholic tradition can create a fairer economy (Georgetown University Press, 2022) seeks to address economic inequality and injustice by applying the principles of Catholic social teaching.
He joins the podcast Deacons Pod, which is hosted by Deacon Tom Casey, Deacon Drew Dickson and Deacon Dennis Dolan, all permanent deacons affiliated with the Paulista Deacons.
In the podcast, Tony discusses the book, Catholic Social Teaching, and his own faith journey.
Here is a partial transcript, as Tony reviews the principles covered in his book (edited for clarity):
OWhat I’m trying to do is go through the series of incredible social encyclicals written by popes, starting with Pope Leo XIII Rerum Novarum in 1891, throughout Pope Francis Fratelli Tutti in 2020.
I have tried to distill a set of principles that would serve as commonalities between these quite diverse encyclicals, written at very different times for very different circumstances. But nevertheless, I think you can actually distill a lot of principles. I will name just a few. (I don’t want to go on too long because I list 10 in the book.)
The first principle is obviously the principle of the common good, and it is the idea that we want the well-being of the other for the good of the other. It’s very different from neoclassical economics, which says you’re just looking for economic growth. But a true understanding of the common good means you have to provide for people in society and you can’t leave anyone behind.
This is crucial – you can’t leave anyone behind. Everyone must be included in the common good. It’s linked to the second principle, which is integral human development, which really comes from Pope Paul VI. It’s the idea that you want to nurture the development of every person and the whole person, and you want the fullest possible development for people in all dimensions of life.
It’s not just about making money. It’s not just about accumulating wealth. It’s more of a calling. It’s a feeling of being more rather than having After. Again, this differs quite significantly from how the economy has developed because the economy assumes you are homo economicus – you are the rational economic man who seeks to maximize your preferences, which is really defined as “things you can buy with money in the market”.
So it’s a very different idea of development, a very different idea of the purpose of human life.
Then, related to that, we also have a principle called integral ecology.
This goes to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ – His wonderful, beautiful, remarkable, encyclical on the environment. He says that we are part of nature and how we affect nature in turn affects our impact on other human beings. So if we disturb the natural balance, we end up disturbing the social and ecological balance of human society as well.
Pope Francis says: “We must hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
The next principle is the principle of solidarity, which you know is a fairly common term, a well-worn term, as Pope Francis says. But it means something quite simple. As Pope John Paul II said, it is the idea that we are truly all responsible for all.
It’s kind of a highway to the greater good, and – again – it says you have to take care of every single person in your society, and also around the world.
Listen above (or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear the whole thing. The Deacons discuss how good Tony’s Irish accent (seasoned by years of living in the US) is to listen to, so you don’t want to miss this!
Click here to get the book!
Image: Adobe Stock. By tverkhovinets.
Mike Lewis is the founding editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host field hospitalan American Catholic podcast.