The True Wealth of Nations

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Caritas in Veritate Conference


Now in its eighth year, the True Wealth of Nations project continues to bring together the best academic minds in a range of disciplines — from sociology to economics to the humanities to theology — in an endeavor to provide insight in the human condition in the 21st century, and give readers a framework based in the Catholic faith for examining our collective and individual responsibilities for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Under the leadership of Dan Finn, professor of Economics and Theology from St. John’s University, and the late Paul Caron, former head of JP Morgan in Belgium and Switzerland, in 2008 the Institute organized the first of the True Wealth of Nations conferences, to discuss the relevance of Catholic social thought to international economic relations. The resulting volume, The True Wealth of Nations: Catholic Social Thought and Economic Life was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, offering a collection of the papers that came out of that conference.

The success of that first meeting inspired an ongoing multidisciplinary exploration: In October 2010, 25 international scholars in economics, sociology, ethics, and theology met with representatives from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and leaders from the business community at an invitational conference held at the Vatican for two days of intense discussion and reflection on Pope Benedict XVI’s social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate., resulting in the 2012 publication of The Moral Dynamics of Economic Life: An Extension and Critique of Caritas in Veritate. Subsequent iterations of the True Wealth of Nations conferences have produced additional highly acclaimed and widely circulated volumes, and the recently published Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Economic Complicity and Christian Ethics, which constructs a Christian response to global inequality in a free market system.

In June 2014, the Institute hosted True Wealth of Nations: The Common Good Conference and in April 2016, the conference returns to the Vatican for “Centesimus Annus: 25 Years Later.” Jointly organized by the Institute and the Pontifical Academy of Social Science, the conference participants will take up the challenge of trying to articulate the impact the major changes in economic, political, and cultural life over the past 25 years have had on the Church and its teachings, as well as to reflect on St. John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus annus in light of the societal changes in effect for the 21st century.