Radical Sufficiency: Work, Livelihood, and a US Catholic Economic Ethic

Radical Sufficiency

By Christine Firer Hinze. Looks back at the influential teachings of priest-economist Monsignor John A. Ryan (1869-1945), who supported worker justice and defended a living wage for all Americans in the first half of the twentieth century. Advancing Ryan’s efforts to articulate a persuasive plan for social reform, the book advocates for an action-oriented livelihood agenda that situates US working families’ economic pursuits within a comprehensive commitment to sustainable “radical sufficiency” for all.

Documenting the daily lives and economic struggles of past and present US Catholic working-class families, the author explores the larger impulses and patterns ― economic, cultural, political, moral, and spiritual ― that affect the work these people perform in homes, in communities, and at paid jobs. Their story entwines with the larger history of the American dream and working people’s pursuit of a dignified livelihood. Surveying this history with an eye to the dynamics of power and difference, develops a new conception of a decent livelihood and its implications for contemporary policy and practice. The result is a critical Catholic economic ethic capable of addressing the situations of workers and families in the interdependent global economy of the twenty-first century.

Offers transformative strategies and strategic policy directions for achieving the radical Christian goal of dignified work and a good livelihood for all. Read more.