Inspired by the social encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, this unit investigates the global crises in economics, social inequality and climate change, and responses from Christian social traditions. It explores debates about sustainability in the light of global warming, and what this will mean for economic development, particularly for the alleviation of hunger and poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals. It will explore the relationships between religious belief, economics and the environment,and the role of values in these debates.

Unit code: DT9016Y

Unit status: Archived (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Identify and analyse key factors in the debates over economics and/or sustainable development


Evaluate and critique the arguments around sustainability and social equity examined in the unit


Demonstrate understanding of the moral principles involved in economic and social development


Analyse the moral dimensions of one or more economic or environmental issues and their consequences for human development


Critically evaluate major moral aspects in current economic and/or environmental issues


Evaluate the responsibilities of the churches in relation to current issues in economic policy and environmental sustainability.

Unit sequence

One foundational unit in Moral Theology or its equivalent


Lectures, class discussion, essay writing, use of internet resources

Indicative Bibliography

  • Cavanagh, John and Jerry Mander (eds.). Alternatives to Economic Globalization. San Francisco CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2004.
  • Clarke, Matthew (ed.). Handbook of Research on Development and Religion. Cheltenham UK: Edward Edgar, 2013.
  • Finn, Daniel K. (ed.) The True Wealth of Nations: Catholic Social Thought and Economic Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Forrester, Duncan B. Beliefs, Values and Policies: Conviction Politics in a Secular Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Francis (Pope), Laudato Si: On the Care of Our Common Home, 2015, various editions.
  • Hollenbach, David SJ. The Global Face of Public Faith: Politics, Human Rights and Christian Ethics. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003.
  • Pabst, Adrian. The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Pope Benedict XVI’s Social Encyclical and the Future of Political Economy. Cambridge UK: James Clarke & Co., 2011.
  • Preston, Ronald H. Religion and the Ambiguities of Capitalism. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1993.
  • Sachs, Jeffrey. The Age of Sustainable Development. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
  • -------- Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. Melbourne: Allen Lane, 2008.
  • --------- The Price of Civilization: Economics and Ethics after the Fall. London: The Bodley Head, 2011.
  • Sniegocki, John. Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Globalization: the Quest for Alternatives. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2009.
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E. Freefall: America, Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy. New York: WW Norton & Co., 2010.
  • ---------- Making Globalization Work: the next Steps to Global Justice. London: Allen Lane, 2006.
  • Todaro, Michael and Smith, Stephen. Economic Development. Harlow: Addison Wesley, 2015.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

4000-word essay.

4000 60.0

3000-word essay

3000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-10-04 11:35:54 +1100