WORK IN THE FUTURE: ECONOMIC REALITIES AND INSIGHTS FROM CATHOLIC THOUGHT
April 21, 2022
Two trends - globalization and automation – are transforming the experience, organization, and character of work, and our best evidence suggests they will continue to do so over the next generation. Both trends spring from the imperative to maximize profits, and they seem to drive an inexorable increase in income inequality along with instability and fragmentation in the world of work. Some economists have responded by proposing schemes of income redistribution such as a “universal basic income,” but these define the good of both labor and business narrowly, primarily in monetary terms. By contrast, the Catholic intellectual tradition, with its fuller view of the human person and emphasis on the common good, suggests a more complex and rounded vision of work that could guide both policy and practice in the years to come.
Mary Hirschfeld is Associate Professor of Economics and Theology at Villanova University. Her work focuses on the boundary between economics and theology, specifically by developing an approach to economics that is grounded in the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, with applications to consumption economics, economic justice, the common good, the nature of practical reason, and economic methodology. She received a PhD in economics from Harvard and a PhD in theology from Notre Dame. Her Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy was published by Harvard University Press in 2018.
This lecture is made possible through the support of grant #62372 from the John Templeton Foundation, “In Lumine: Promoting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide”