This year I will be attending for the second time the ‘Acton University‘. This is a residential course that takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The dates are June 18-21.
The Acton Institute is an organisation devoted to the promotion of a free and virtuous society. It was at Acton that I first heard of the connection between anthropology and economics. The last time I attended was my first and in the introductory lectures the speakers described how economics is a reflection of network of social interractions. And the nature of these interractions derives from our understanding of the human person, which in turn comes from Catholic social teaching.
Each person attending must sign up for a an integrated series of lectures so that each builds on the last. It is cleverly worked out so that the first lecture you choose restricts your choice for the second and so on. As this is my second year there, I will be doing a different set of classes, that build on what I learnt last time.
As a Catholic I tended to pick courses that focus on Catholic social teaching or are consistent with it. They seem to touch on a whole range of subjects that cover topics as varied as economics, theology, public policy, globalization, the environment. What impressed me is that far from being the detached libertarians unconcerned with morality that some had portrayed them as, they were all profoundly interested in the poor and the foundations of a good and moral society. Furthermore, and again this goes against the way they were characterised, they were extremely interested in promoting a culture of beauty and seeing how this was connected to a free economy.