On January 9th, the American Enterprise Institute’s Initiative on Faith and Public Life hosted their annual retreat for faculty. This year the theme was a question: “What would a truly humane economy look like in the United States?” The retreat was cosponsored with the Association of Christian Economists.
There were some great conversations over the day, some of which will show up as papers in the forthcoming issue of Faith & Economics. The session shared here had the title: “The Promise and Limits of Economics.” The panel consisted of three top interdisciplinary Christian scholars: Mary Hirschfeld, Samuel Gregg, and William Cavanaugh.
Over the course of this conversation, we talk primarily about the way economists think, and not as much about the content of economics. It is important to be mindful of those blind spots that we have because of our background and training. We are all trained to think in particular categories, and ask a certain set of questions. Talking to theologians and philosophers, as well as studying history, can help us think critically about those things that we, sometimes inapropriately take for granted, and it helps us think more carefully about even the things we are sure about. The same, of course, is also true in reverse: philosophers and theologians have much to gain from conversation with economists. The conversation covers a lot of ground quickly, as you might expect with such a broad topic. These kinds of events serve us best as opportunities to spur thinking, and to start an inquiry, rather than as a final word on a topic. I hope you will find this to be true here.