Economy of Francesco

Our world is an economic and social crisis, it is losing its points of reference while poverty and inequality are growing. Inspired by Saint Francesco of Assisi, Pope Francis launched an invitation to young economists to join him in working for “a different economy, one that helps people to live rather than dehumanizes, one that takes care of creation and does not plunder it”.

This is the Economy of Francesco.

From November 19 to 21, 2019, more than 2000 young economists from different countries participated in a virtual meeting around thematic “villages” on “happiness and politics”, “finance and humanity”, “CO2 and inequalities”.

The Economy of Francesco is the corollary of the propositions that the Pope gives to the world in order to overcome the current crises and to prepare “a more inclusive and just future”. It allows us to understand with Laudato Si, Fratelli Tutti, and Amoris Laetitia, that a common world is possible because everything is linked!

The participation of young economists in the Economy of Francesco is essential for the construction of a world in common: the Georgetown Environmental Justice Program is thus offering young economists a space to reflect on how to reform the global economy and to develop their research and projects in this direction.

Their projects are inspired by the four main principles enunciated by Pope Francis in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, which are guidelines for carrying out this reform and ensuring the ecological and social reconstruction of our societies by going beyond the limits of conventional economics:

  1. “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (EG, 234-237). This principle, which means that events can occur at the level of the “whole” that cannot be deduced from the “part”, is opposed to the methodological individualism taught in conventional economics curricula ;
  2. “time is greater than space” (cf. EG 222-225). To be pursued, the common good requires time, discernment and dialogue. This means that the “short term” imposed by the financial markets cannot be a legitimate horizon for economic decision-making.
  3. “Unity prevails over conflict” (cf. EG 226-230). With this principle, Pope Francis wants to invite us to always seek the unity of the Church and, more generally, of our social bodies, without neglecting diversity. This approach contradicts a certain economic ideology that places the competition of “all against all” at the center of social links and thus the exacerbation of conflicts among all. At the center of social links, we must place solidarity and fidelity to commitments rather than competition. Rather than an atomized anthropology, it is the vision of the human being (woman and man) as a “being in relation” that must be at the center of our economy. It is an anthropological vision infused with the issue of justice, because economics are also a moral discipline.
  4. “realities are more important than ideas” (cf. EG 231-233). One of the biggest problems with conventional economics is that they are based on models that ignore material reality. It is time for economics to take seriously problems such as the disruption of the water cycle or the scarcity of non-renewable mineral resources.

Finally, one last great principle dear to Pope Francis can serve as a guiding criterion for the reconstruction of the economy: “Everything is linked”. Economics can no longer be practiced as a discipline isolated from the rest of the academic field: it must be attuned to ethics, sociology, history, law and political science, as well as to physics, biology and even theology.

More on this subject

Women and the Economy of Francesco

The Farm of Francesco: agriculture and justice

The official website of the Economy of Francesco

Giraud, G. (2020). L’economia di Francesco e i giovani. La civiltà cattolica 4092, 531-544. Read it here in Italian, English and French.

last updated: 05-17-2021