Challenges to Poverty Eradication in the 21st Century: Insights from Catholic Social Thought

Professor Charles Clark was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Catholic Social Tradition conference, sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame. The conference explored how Catholic social tradition can engage academics and practitioners in the challenges of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in order to build a more just and humane world. Professor Clark’s keynote focused on what Catholic social tradition adds to conventional economic theories.


Neoclassical economists tend to see human beings as rational actors seeking to maximize their utility through choice, and poverty as the result of bad individual choices. Marxist economists tend to see human beings as the sum total of their social relations, and poverty as a result of those. Catholic social thought offers a different and broader understanding of what it means to be human and live in society with other humans. It also gives us criteria to help us evaluate economic processes and outcomes, and it helps us see poverty as a multidimensional problem requiring multidimensional solutions.

March 22, 2019

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