Why this issue?

The intensifying financial turmoil of the last three years has shaken—and in some instances destroyed—crucial businesses and financial institutions, convulsed economies worldwide, and given rise to what most economists and historians agree is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Why Notre Dame?

In the wake of these recent events, the economic, social, cultural, and political interdependence of the world’s nations and peoples has assumed a new and vivid urgency. The 2010–11 Notre Dame Forum, “The Global Marketplace and the Common Good,” offers an opportunity for a reappraisal of the global economy and a renewed discussion of its impact on human development. Notre Dame’s President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and those who have joined him to organize this year’s Forum, believe that as a Catholic university, Notre Dame has a distinctive and indispensable contribution to make to this issue.

The 2010–11 Forum hopes to encourage reflection and discussion within, throughout, and beyond the Notre Dame family in a yearlong series of events. Our conversation will be enlightened by Pope Benedict’s reaffirmation of Catholic social teaching, enlivened by the expertise of our guest speakers and faculty, and enriched by the participation of our students.

Why Now?

“The world has been shaken by the current economic crisis,” Father Jenkins said. “The Notre Dame Forum will create a yearlong discussion on the role of ethics, values, and morals in the rebuilding and reshaping of the global economy.

“In his recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), published in July 2009, Pope Benedict issued a reminder that ‘the economy needs ethics in order to function correctly—not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centered.’ That encyclical comes out of a long tradition of the Church’s social teaching which asks us to reflect on the moral dimensions of individual and collective economic choices, and evaluate them with regard to their contribution to justice and the common good.”

As the activities of the world’s populations become increasingly intertwined, the time is now to consider these issues and the impact they may have on the future of human development.