Is Capitalism a Caring Society? Economists Engage the Thought of Pope Francis

May 8, 2018
Pope Francis event poster

Robert Whaples, Research Fellow, Independent Institute; Co-Editor, The Independent Review; editor of the book, Pope Francis and the Caring Society; Professor of Economics, Wake Forest University; Respondent: Samuel GreggDirector of Research, Acton Institute. 

This talk will consider whether capitalism works well and whether it can be a caring society. It will begin with an overview of what economists see as the strengths of capitalism, then detail what Pope Francis has identified as key failures of capitalism, drawing mainly on his encyclical Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home. It will conclude by considering what economists can learn from Francis and what Francis can learn from economists. 

Robert Whaples, Professor of Economics at Wake Forest University, is co-editor of The Independent Review (a quarterly journal of political economy) and has recently edited or co-edited six books: The Routledge Handbook of Modern Economic HistoryThe Routledge Handbook of Major Events in Economic HistoryThe Economic Crisis in Retrospect: Explanations by Great Economists, The Future: Economic Peril or Prosperity?Pope Francis and the Caring Society, and Is Egalitarianism Fair?   He regularly teaches Introduction to Economics, Current Economic Issues, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, and the Economics of Entrepreneurship.  Professor Whaples received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Regina, are Lay Dominicans.

Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute and a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.  He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. Among his eleven books are Becoming Europe (2013) and For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance can serve the Common Good (2016). He has an M.A. in political philosophy from the University of Melbourne and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy and political economy from the University of Oxford.


Is Capitalism a Caring Society? Economists Engage the Thought of Pope Francis


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