ADVERTISING
 
Friday, August 17   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
New season
What kind of contents do you enjoy most?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Patrick Nullens
 

Economics, Faith and Well-being

Hope is not simply a virtue or bonus of life, but it is an essential anthropological given – a primary human emotion that is often overlooked in research.

INSTITUTE - LEADERSHIP AND ETHICS AUTHOR Patrick Nullens LEUVEN 16 SEPTEMBER 2015 11:22 h GMT+1
Clipper Stad Amsterdam. Clipper Stad Amsterdam.

In a secular Europe where faith is locked into the boxes of private preferences finding an in-depth conversation between philosophers, theologians, CEOs, politicians and economists about happiness and wellbeing is unheard of. 



Yet this occurs at a special, yearly event in the Netherlands, when about fifty such people meet for an event entitled ERGO (which stands for: Economics, Religion, Governance & Organization). They spend two days on a gorgeous ship, a three-masted clipper, to openly discuss some of the most complex challenges facing Western European societies. Admittedly, the nautical ambiance and collegial atmosphere contribute to the success of these meetings!



On September 7-8, they assembled to discuss: ‘love and happiness come together’. The discussions were intense, personal and sophisticated. A hedge fund manager, for instance, shared how getting acquainted with virtue ethics changed the discussions he has in the board meetings of a bank. This goes to show that this group of highly influential men and women are aware of the fact that ethics are not a luxury window dressing, but must be integrated in the heart of our economic enterprises. They acknowledge that an increase in welfare doesn’t automatically result in an increase in happiness. Not all participants are believers; some make a case for social behaviorism, purely based on science. Others are devoted Christians – Catholics or Protestants. What they have in common is an awareness that our economic context is profoundly changing, resulting in the need to connect a deeper understanding of the human person with economic growth and sustainable development. This is where humanities, theology and (political) economy interact with each other, with the increasing understanding that economics is primarily about reciprocal relationships, cooperation and trust, and only secondarily about capital, goods, labor and money.



Most of the time during the meeting, a combined paper was presented by a philosopher/theologian and an economist. Added to this were reflections from practitioners in the field, for instance a CEO of a bank, an industrialist, etc. In this setting,  I had the opportunity to talk about the Judeo-Christian meaning of hope and its importance for an economy of development. Hope is not simply a virtue or bonus of life, but it is an essential anthropological given – a primary human emotion that is often overlooked in research. Hope is a way of looking at facts and it is a part of us being travelers in life (homo viator), a Christian metaphor that resonates well, especially when sailing together on a ship! Hope is the oil greasing the machine. As the philosopher John Stuart Mill stated: “A hopeful disposition gives a spur to the faculties and keeps all the working energies in good working order.” The concept of ‘hope’ requires more attention in our economic models as one of the essential human capabilities that needs to be developed. Yet hope is often misunderstood as utopic or reduced to egoistic individualism often veiled with false religion. A sound and critical understanding of hope contributes to growth and wellbeing. My colleague Martijn Burger from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, involved in the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization, discussed the distinction between aspirational hope and wishful hope. He also shared some results of his recent field research among students in Greece during the turmoil with the European Union. Indeed, hope seems to matter as do love and relationships.



The challenge that remains is how to define and measure hope. The capability approach, developed by, among others, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen and the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, seems to have potential. Maybe we need to think more in terms of development economy and leave the dogmas of neoliberalism behind us? Truly, this yearly ERGO meeting in the Netherlands is a little sign of hope, a poem crossing the pages of dry econometrics.



 



Patrick Nullens (Ph.D.) is Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics, as well as Rector of the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven (Belgium), and director of the Institute of Leadership and Ethics



This blog is part of a blog series on Leadership & Social Ethics, published by the Institute of Leadership and Ethics. For more information, please visit their website.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Economics, Faith and Well-being
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Being a peacemaker Being a peacemaker

Ken Sande, Founder and President of Relational Wisdom 360, develops a practical systematic theology for pursuing peace and resolving the conflicts of real life. 

 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.