The current era of globalization, with all its opportunities and challenges, is not the first time that the Church has had to grapple with economic changes on a global scale. In the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, Catholic theologians explored the moral, political, and economic implications of expanding commerce and trade routes across the globe – to India, China, Africa, and, of course, the New World.
Many of these theologians and moralists were members of the recently founded Society of Jesus. Jesuits such as Juan de Mariana, Luis de Molina, and Leonardus Lessius not only explored the ethics of contracts, trade, money, and the state’s role in the economy; they also made important, though often overlooked, contributions to the development of economics and political economy. In his famous History of Economic Analysis, the distinguished economist and historian of economic ideas Joseph Schumpeter described many of these Jesuits’ insights as anticipating similar ideas expressed by Adam Smith two centuries later.
On Wednesday, 29 November 2017, the Acton Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Faculty of History and Cultural Heritage of the Church will hold an afternoon conference in Rome on Globalization, Justice, & the Economy: The Jesuit Contribution at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Click here to register for this event.