ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, March 30   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
Faith at the workplace
Do you agree with the EU Court of Justice that religious and political symbols can be banned at the workplace?




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
 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
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. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
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".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’ ‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Healthy team-building in intercultural mission Healthy team-building in intercultural mission

Insights by Scott Moreau, Associate Dean of Wheaton College Graduate School.

 
How does erotic love feature in the Bible? How does erotic love feature in the Bible?

Richard Winter, Psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary, answers the question.

 
Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

 
‘You are a… Christian?’ ‘You are a… Christian?’

A clip by Tracey Ullman's Show (BBC, in the UK) gives a humorous approach to how Christians are perceived in the labour market.

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
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.