How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy

Anthony M. Annett
Foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs

"Anthony Annett ... brings us Cathonomics, a fascinating perspective on how Catholic Social Thought (CST) can inform efforts 'to create a world economy that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable for all.'" — Vic Duggan
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Inequality is skyrocketing. In this world of vast riches, millions of people live in extreme poverty, barely surviving from day to day. All over the world, the wealthy's increasing political power is biasing policy away from the public interest and toward the financial interests of the rich. At the same time, many countries are facing financial fragility and diminished well-being. On top of it all, the global economy, driven by fossil fuels, has proven to be a collective act of self-sabotage with the poor on the front lines. In a new foreword to his book, Anthony M. Annett examines the Biden administration's economic policies and discusses reactions to Cathonomics.

A growing chorus of economists and politicians is demanding a new paradigm to create a global economy that seeks the common good. In Cathonomics, Annett unites insights in economics with those from theology, philosophy, climate science, and psychology, exposing the failures of neoliberalism while offering us a new model rooted in the wisdom of Catholic social teaching and classical ethical traditions. Drawing from the work of Pope Leo XIII, Pope Francis, Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle, Annett applies these teachings to discuss current economic challenges, such as inequality, unemployment and underemployment, climate change, and the roles of business and finance.

Cathonomics is an ethical and practical guide for readers of all faiths and backgrounds seeking to create a world economy that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable for all.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs



1. The Old Stuff: Where It All Comes From

2. The New Stuff: Modern Catholic Social Teaching

3. Who’s Right and Who’s Wrong: Catholic Social Teaching versus the Dominant Economic Paradigm

4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Practically Assessing the Global Economy

5. Who Does What? The Roles of Government, Business, and Labor

6. Inequality: The Root of Social Ills

7. Care for Our Common Home

8. Expanding Our Circles: The Global Dimension



About the Author


"Tony Annett has written an excellent book arguing the contrary position. There is indeed a Catholic tradition of economics—or at least, a body of teaching on social questions which offer an alternative to the current economic orthodoxy."—Ownership Matters

"'Cathonomics' deserves to be included in the reading list for any course of study related to Catholic social teaching at every level from college, high school and parish discussion groups...Please read this book and discuss it at your parish and in your communities. You will find it a rewarding experience."—Catholic News Service

"Economist Anthony Annett has delivered a book that should be required reading not only for those of us who have long been interested in Catholic social doctrine, but for anyone who is serious about bringing their Catholic faith to bear on decisions relating to public life."—National Catholic Reporter

"Anthony Annett ... brings us Cathonomics, a fascinating perspective on how Catholic Social Thought (CST) can inform efforts 'to create a world economy that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable for all.'"—Irish Times

"Annett's reflections brilliantly combine heart, head, and hand the book is a valuable contribution towards the efforts being made to achieve a more just economy that promotes equity and environmental sustainability."—Journal of Economics, Theology and Religion

"Economic policy can only be effective if it is built on the strong foundations of a shared value system. Cathonomics provides an excellent account of how Catholic social teaching can help inform sustainable development and robust policies: it should be read widely by policymakers of all stripes."—Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB)

"In Cathonomics, former IMF economist Anthony Annett explains how the Catholic economic and social justice traditions championed by Pope Francis offer a fundamental alternative to neoliberalism. Annett lifts up what working people have always known–that good individual lives are built on connections with other people, and that good and stable human societies are founded on solidarity, not on greed. Anyone looking for a humane pathway out of the current global crisis of neoliberalism should read this book."—Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO

"How does Pope Francis see the future of humanity? Here is the rich answer, expansive and well-developed, of a thoughtful economist inspired by Catholic social thought. It will satisfy the historically-minded: Annett starts with Old Testament justice and Aristotle's virtues. It will also satisfy those who today seek answers to how we fail to attend to human and environmental repercussions. I especially value Annett's acknowledgement of both conservative worry over loss of virtue and progressive desire for a wider reign of justice. This embrace provides a framework for deeper dialogue on the themes of Pope Francis in Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti. On top of all that, such clear, enjoyable prose is an exception to economics famously characterized as 'the dismal science!'"—Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Under-Secretary, Migrants & Refugees Section, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

"Matthew 6:33 says to ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ In Cathonomics, Anthony Annett shows how this principle of the Gospel is also applicable to economics. I wholeheartedly recommend this book."—Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

"Annett's title captures perfectly his remarkable work here: showing the richness of the entire Catholic social tradition that informs Pope Francis's prophetic words, and combining it with his decades of knowledge and experience of today's global economic challenges. The resulting analysis is a new theoretical paradigm that is practically accessible to economists and policymakers who are searching for a better world."—David Cloutier, associate professor of theology, Catholic University of America

"Reject an economy of exclusion for 'such an economy kills' implores Pope Francis. In response, many claimed he doesn’t understand economics or 'good' capitalism. Cathonomics strongly and adeptly dispels any illusions that the economic teaching of Francis is naïve or disconnected from economic realities. A Catholic economist with decades of experience in international economics, Annett offers an accessible critique of the dominant economic worldview and positive case for Catholic social teaching as both economically sound and practically needed. This book is a must read for all inspired by Pope Francis’s call to build an economy of solidarity and save our planet."—Meghan Clark, associate professor of theology and religious studies, St. John's University

"Annett deftly reveals the ways in which Catholic social teaching requires profound changes in economic thinking and in the conduct and aims of business. If you are interested in what it would mean to live in a world in which ethics constrained economics rather than the other way around, then Annett’s Cathonomics is the book you must read."—Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

"The book's accessible language advances its critique of the neo-liberal toxic individualism and solidifies its argument on the naturality of civic economics and economic solidarity."—American Catholic Studies

"[Annett] argues with precision, clarity and persuasive power for robust intervention in markets, by government and other actors, to harness economic growth at the service of human flourishing."—Studies in Christian Ethics


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Anthony M. Annett is a Gabelli Fellow at Fordham University and a senior adviser at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He has a PhD in economics from Columbia University and spent two decades at the International Monetary Fund, where he worked as a speechwriter to the managing director. He is also a member of the College of Fellows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.

344 pp., 6.5 x 9.5

ISBN: 978-1-64712-142-6
Jan 2022

344 pp., 6.5 x 9.5

ISBN: 978-1-64712-472-4
Jan 2022

344 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-64712-504-2
Jan 2022

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