How should we report about Justin Bieber, Kanye West and other cases of well-known personalities who are considering the Christian faith?
Economics should take into account the relational aspect of men as it structures society for human flourishing.
Is Christ an economist? Leading Dutch Economist, Prof. Dr. Lans Bovenberg thinks there is a reason to think yes.
During our last breakfast seminar, the relationship between Economics and Christianity was explored in more detail. In his persuasive talk, he enlarged the discussion of economics as more than just money.
For him, relationships are the key connection between Economics and Christianity. Relationships are central for God as seen in the trinity and in His desire for relationship with men. In the same way, men created in the image of God, are social beings that live within society. Economics should therefore take into account the relational aspect of men as it structures society for human flourishing.
Reflecting on the different levels of economics with Christian thought, Prof. Bovenberg considered the blessings of scarcity, the key focus of micro economics. Instead of viewing scarcity negatively, it can also be positive as it reflects the uniqueness of individuals with one’s creativity, values and preferences. A unique individual therefore makes ‘rational’ decisions by understanding who he is in his wise discernment. Another interesting opinion that he made was the importance of creating win-win relationships in society. These relationships can be created by economics with the intentional cultivation of love, “a risk bearing capital”. Love as a virtue takes risk. It values others and pursues shared joys. It compels people to develop talents and use it to serve others instead of merely serving themselves.
This seminar by Prof. Bovenberg is an excellent illustration of what the Institute of Leadership and Ethics (ILE) seeks to do. Exploring specific topics in more depth, ILE seeks to be a platform for dialogue and research regarding key issues of Leadership and Ethics facing society today, contributing theologically in the public domain.
We organize breakfast seminars, academic conferences as well as produce original research. In this blog series, we publish our original ideas as well as those shared under the auspices of ILE. We are also very interested in the input of others and would like to engage with you readers through this blog. We look forward to a meaningful time together. For more information, please go to the website of the Institute of Leadership and Ethics.
Peirong Lin is Research Assistant at the Evangelical Theological Faculty, Leuven, Belgium and the Coordinator for the Institute of Leadership and Ethics.