“Cathonomics” and the Future of Democracy


Location: Hesburgh Center for International Studies Auditorium (View on map.nd.edu)

Annett Book

In his book that won the Nasr Book Prize this year, Anthony Annett presents a history of Catholic social teaching, arguing in favor of its relevance for creating a more just economy. Cathonomics contrasts two distinct paradigms for economics: “neoclassical” economics privileges concepts like autonomous individuals, self-interest, subjective well-being through material goods, competition, and extraction of value. Catholic social teaching privileges a notion of beings-in-relation, reciprocal interests, integral human development, the common good, and integral ecology. This forum invites the author to extend his insights from economics to democracy. In a nutshell, how would a society that is organized by the principles of “Cathonomics” function as a pluralist democracy? Would it still be considered secular and free? If Cathonomics produces better outcomes, for believers and others, what are the roadblocks preventing us from realizing a more just economy and polity?

About Anthony Annett

Anthony Annett is a Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. Working closely with Religions for Peace, he leads the Earth Institute's initiative to strengthen the engagement of the world's religious communities in the climate change and sustainable development agenda.

Trained as an economist, Annett has a keen interest in Catholic social teaching and in the intersection of ethics and economics more broadly. He has acted as an informal consultant to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and co-authored the remarks delivered by Dr. Carolyn Woo at the launch of the encyclical, Laudato Si'.

Annett spent sixteen years at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, with stints in the European, Fiscal Affairs, and Communications departments. In this role, he worked as an economist in a variety of countries and regions. Most recently, he worked for five years as a speechwriter to two successive Managing Directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Christine Lagarde.

Respondants will include representatives from the Abrahamic, Asian, Indigenous, and Secular Traditions.

Food and refreshments will be available following the formal portion of the event program.

Since its establishment in 2005 by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., each year the Notre Dame Forum invites campus-wide dialogue about issues of importance to the University, the nation and the larger world. This year's Forum is on The Future of Democracy and this conversation is a part of that forum.


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