Topics Arising From the 2020 Reith Lectures

Compiled by Andrew Basden for the Reith Lecture Discussion Group.

In his 2020 Reith Lectures, Mark Carney challenged us with the overall question: How do we rethink the Economy and the economic aspect of life in the light of the three crises: credit crisis of 2008, Covid-19 crisis of 2020-21, and the coming climate crisis?

This page collects together topics were mentioned during the lectures, and in subsequent discussions by the Reith Lecture Discussion Group, and organises them. The reason for doing so is to encourage and assist and stimulate the rethinking that is necessary. It also adds a perspective from Reformational (Dooyeweerdian) philosophy and Christian thinking, in a way that might contribute to the overall discourse.

We recognise that, on one hand, many who wish to rethink do so without reference to the realities of economics and, on the other, those steeped in economics, finance, etc. accept things largely as they are and are not sufficiently aware of the coming crises, thinking for example, only "Let us get the economy booming again after the pandemic" and not whether certain sectors need to be allowed to remain shrunken. Mark Carney, once Governor of the Bank of England, clearly linked the two sides. We wish to do so too.

The whole page consists of individual items, which are linked together, so by clicking the reader can move around, from one to others. The items are grouped into sections and subsections. The structure of items is explained in the Key below.



Each topic contains:

The sources are indicated by code as follows:

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The overall challenge that Mark Carney gave us is:

Challenge: We must rethink

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This section collects problems that have been mentioned. They are by no means all the problems.

General Problems

Problem: The drift from moral to market sentiments.

Problem: Marketisation of life and society

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Problems of Situation

Problem: The 2008 crash

Problem: Climate change emissions

Problem: Outsourcing climate change emissions

Problem: Urgency

Problem: Carbon taxes too small

Problem: China

Problem: Hospitality sector decimated by Covid-19

Problem: USA, The United States of America

Problem: "we working in old models of public services" [q305].

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Problems of Attitude, Perspective, Beliefs, Assumptions

Problem: Green window dressing

Problem: Flattening of values

Problem: Taken for granted

Problem: Children unhappy

Problem: Dominance of economics / markets

Problem: Financialisation; Monetisation

Problem: Supply and demand as only considerations

Problem: Why did nobody see the 2008 crash coming?

Problem: Different thinking about Covid-19 and climate change.

Problem: Short-term thinking

Problem: Unbridled dominance of market thinking

Problem: Crises and their causes

Problem: Our economy depends on measuring ---- Top of page, Contents, Key ----

Problems in Structures of Society

Problem: Monopolies

Problem: The fast fashion industry

Problem: Bloated economies

Problem: Trading money rather than goods


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Potential Problems

Problem: Bank failure

Problem: Despair about solving these problems, especially climate change.


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This section gives topics that have been mentioned, which relate to ways of understanding the economy and economy as such, which should be useful in rethinking it.

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Topics about the Context in which The Economy Operates

Context: Covid-19 pandemic

Context: Covid-19 gives us an opportunity to change course

Context: Sustainability, especially environmental and involving our economic functioning

Context: Climate Change

Context: Net Zero target for carbon emissions

Context: Justice

Context: Environmental Impact

Context: The young

Context: Children must also be taken into account

Context: Disadvantaged groups, cohorts

Context: Freedom rather than totalitarian control


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Some Basic Concepts Relevant to The Economy

This section collects concepts relavant to the economy that have been mentioned.

Issue: Human Functioning

Issue: Good

Issue: Common Good

Issue: Goods (including services)

Issue: Good, Harmful, Useless parts of the economy

Issue: Negative goods

Issue: Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethical organisations

Issue: Labour

Issue: Human dignity

Issue: Human frailties

Issue: Complexity

Issue: The Economy

Issue: Economic growth

Issue: Other types of Economy

Issue: Resource, and its diverse kinds

Issue: Gifts


Issue: Borrowing and debt

Issue: Infrastructure. c.f. "structures of society"

Issue: Individuals and structures / infrastructures

Issue: Time

Issue: The Future

Issue: Human rights and justice

Issue: Inequalities

Issue: Social care

Problem: Public services

Issue: Attitude taken by people, organisations and governments

Issue: Competition

Issue: Tradeoffs


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On Value and Values

Issue: Value

Issue: What do we value?

Issue: Non-monetary value

Issue: We value the wrong things.

Issue: Economic value

Issue: Formation of value

Issue: Shareholder ("owner") value

Issue: Values

Issue: Articulating values, especially when different

Issue: Norms

Issue: Perspectives on the economy

Issue: Wrong Values, Harmful beliefs and commitments

Issue: Corroding our values.

Issue: Price

Issue: What is the relationship between price and value?

Issue: Currency

Issue: Scale - number or amount we are dealing with; micro to macro, local, national to global

Issue: The Media


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On Prosperity and Wealth

Issue: Prosperity and Wealth

Issue: Wealth - What is it?

Issue: Poverty, marginalisation, disenfranchisement

Issue: Developing countries

Issue: Wealthy countries

Issue: Reparations by wealthy countries to developing countries for damage done in the past

Issue: Consumption

Issue: Supply chains

Issue: Supply, Demand and Impact


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On Impacts of the Functioning of the Economy

Issue: Impact

Issue: Externalities

Issue: The Tragedy of the Commons

Issue: Climate change and environmental responsibility

Issue: Unpredictablity of impacts

Issue: Responsibility

Issue: Stewardship

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On Institutions

Issue: Governments

Issue: Regulation.

Issue: Legislation and compliance therewith

Issue: International regulations

Issue: Taxes

Issue: Markets

Issue: Markets - true and false ideas

Issue: Repugnant markets

Issue: Role of companies and business

Issue: Business success

Issue: Longevity

Issue: Social capital

Issue: Free markets

Issue: Banks

Issue: Bank soundness

Issue: Insurance

Issue: Ethical Trading Initiative


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On Theorizing Economics

Issue: Real markets, economies versus theory about them

Issue: Economic Theories

Issue: Rational economic actor

Issue: Ethical theories



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On Measurements or Reports of Value

Issue: Measuring Value

Issue: Measuring tools

Issue: Indicators

Issue: Beyond Measuring

Issue: Money

Issue: GDP and its deficiencies

Issue: Period over which things are measured

Issue: Multi-aspectual measuring

Issue: International Integrated Reporting Network


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Concerning Aspects As Such

Issue: Aspects

Issue: Inter-aspect dependency

Issue: Multi-aspectual functioning.

Issue: Multi-aspectual economy

Issue: Every aspect is limited when taken by itself

Issue: Missing aspects

Issue: Single aspect isolation. Also called Reductionism.

Issue: Aspectual coherence

Issue: No conflict between aspects

Issue: Shalom or Flourishing


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Concerning Individual Aspects

Issue: The Economic Aspect

Issue: Robinson Crusoe

Issue: Economic targets: About what should we be economic (prudent, efficient, frugal)?

Issue: Dependency of economic aspect on other aspects

Issue: Frugality

Issue: Efficiency

Issue: Consumption

Issue: Exchange of goods or money


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Issue: Pistic (faith) aspect

Issue: Pistic/faith aspect of the economy

Issue: Ethical aspect

Issue: Juridical aspect

Issue: Aesthetic aspect

Issue: Social aspect of economic functioning and the economy

Issue: Lingual aspect

Issue: Formative aspect

Issue: Analytical aspect

Issue: Psychical / Sensitive aspect

Issue: Biotic / Organic aspect

Issue: Physical aspect

Issue: Kinematic aspect

Issue: Spatial aspect

Issue: Quantitative aspect


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This contains some concepts that come with a Christian perspective that have been mentioned. They are ones that might contribute to disucssions on rethinking economics. They are by no means all that could be brought.

Issue: Contribution from Christian perspective? [z120]

Issue: God cares for the entire Creation

Issue: Love, especially rooted in God

Issue: God as the Creator

Issue: Why is economy, and economic functioning possible?

Issue: Mandate for human beings / humanity

Issue: Imago Dei: Human beings as "Image of God".

Issue: Shepherds of Creation

Issue: Christian values

Issue: Responsibility to my neighbour, including distant unknown ones.

Issue: The good in people

Issue: The human heart

Issue: Human sin

Issue: Repentance

Issue: Redemption

Issue: Idolatry

Issue: Revivals

Issue: Hypocrisy

Issue: "You cannot serve God and Mammon"

Issue: Obedience is better than planning.

Issue: Role of non-Christians in God's plan.

Issue: There is hope

Issue: Kairos: The Right Time for doing things



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This section collects solutions that have been mentioned. They are by no means all the solutions and should be treated carefully.

Solutions Tried but Failed

Solution: engineering (and technological innovation) ("Technofix")

Solution: Politics

Solution: Market as solution to climate change

Solution: Economic growth as the solution

Solution: Trying to solve problems by fixing market imperfections.

Solution: New agendas

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Solutions in Which Some Hope

Solution: "can drive self-reinforcing cycles" of perspective

Solution: Private sector

Solution: Government

Problem: (Global) citizens' assembly

Solution: Solutions proposed for developing countries?

Solution: Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Solutions we Might Find or Try

Solution: Society's goal

Solution: Opportunity for business

Solution: Businesses to invest (after Covid-19 lockdown)

Solution: Green jobs

Solution: Investment in green technology etc.

Solution: Reporting

Solution: Leveraging people's concern and action

Solution: Carbon districts

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Solutions we Should Try: Actions

Solution: Act soon

Solution: plan for failure.

Solution: "Risk Management must be transformed"

Solution: Diversification

Solution: Challenge those in the Economy

Solution: Choosing sectors of the economy to shrink or support.

Solution: Changing policy

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Solutions we Should Try: Attitudes, Perspectives, etc.

Solution: Define (society's) core purpose before seeking cost-effective interventions

Solution: Wisdom

Solution: know what constitues a true market. [m238]

Problem: Need mix of solutions, not just pure green

Solution: Need a just transition - bear human poverty etc. in mind

Solution: Regeneration

Solution: Build from first principles.

Solution: Need to get beyond self-interest

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Solutions we Should Try: Structures

Solution: "mobilise mainstream finance" to get companies towards netzero


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Here a few questions for further discussion are collected.

Issue: Does anyone have any experience in pricing modeling or pricing theory [j216]?

Issue: What are we trying to do, replace or expand GDP? Critique or enrich GDP? [j217]

Issue: What we may need to do is set what we think should be considered efficient [j219].

Issue: I propose we all have a conversation together and just state what [our] common day or common week looks like with our consumption, both products, food and services/power.

Issue: "must und first causes of crisis" [m405]

Issue: "what else should we pursue (besides money)?" [z221]

Issue: "What's involved in rethinking the economy?" [z101]

Issue: How to articulate different values yet achieve shalom

Issue: Discuss when it is appropriate to measure and when not

Issue: Look at the European Social Survey

Issue: Think about concept of dominion viewed as enrichment r.t. dominion as control. *** [z261]



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Created: 3 February 2021 Last updated: 4 February 2021 better spacing. 9 February 2021 aspects. 13 February 2021 adding topics from 2nd zoom discussion. 14 February 2021 finished z2.