Findings of the First Eight
Reith Lectures Discussions

leading to

Rethinking the Economy, with the help of
a Christian Perspective

This collects together main points from the first eight Reith Lectures Zoom Discussions of how to rethink the economy (or rather, economic activity) from a Christian perspctive, and, to a small extent, with the help of Dooyeweerd's philosophy.

So that readers can find the origin of each point, "[znmm]" labels indicate where the point was made, in which "z" means "zoom", "n" is the lecture number, "mm" is a unique identifier within that file.

The points included here are all from the discussions, except for a few labelled "ab" and a few explanations. Disclaimer: 1. Every point must be seen as a contribution to the discussion, and is in no way accepted nor endorsed by all. But each should be taken seriously. 2. This collection of points is by no means comprehensive; many more must be added.

Contents:

1. INTRODUCTION

2. IDEAS AND CONCEPTS RE. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
    2.1 Widening the Idea of The Economy to Economic Activity
    2.2 Value and Good
    2.3 On Economic Activity Doing Good and Harm
    2.4 On Poverty (and Wealth?)
    2.5 Other basic issues to be added?

3. MECHANISMS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
    3.1 Markets
    3.2 Non-Economic Contributors to Economic Activity
        3.2.1 Example of Aspectual Analysis of Other Aspects
    3.3 How Economic Activity Impacts Other Aspects of Life
    3.4 On Measuring Value
        3.4.1 Initial Points on Measuring Value
        3.4.2 Role (Validity, Meaningfulness) of Measurement of Value
        3.4.3 Problems in measuring
        3.4.4 Some Values Cannot be Measured
        3.4.5 Types of Measure
        3.4.6 Indicators of Value
    3.5 What Will The Future Be Like?

4. PROBLEMS IN CURRENT ECONOMIC THEORY AND PRACTICE
    4.1 Some Overall Problems
    4.2 Economic stuff not working
    4.3 Financialization / Monetization
    4.4 Limitations in Various Ideas

5. CHRISTIAN IDEAS
    5.1 Creation Rejoicing: Intended Shalom
        5.1.1 Specific to the economic aspect of reality
        5.1.2 Christian Values and the Economy
    5.2 Role of Human Beings
        5.2.1 Some overall points about human beings
        5.2.2 Humans as Image of God
    5.3 The Reality of Sin
        5.3.1 What's going wrong with the economy?
    5.4 Redemption / Salvation (Especially of Economic Activity)
    5.5 Towards Christian Contributions

6. USING DOOYEWEERD'S IDEAS
    6.1 The Idea of a Multi-Aspectual Economy
        6.1.1 Aspects of Shalom, of HLE
        6.1.2 Aspects of poverty
    6.2 Aspects of Real Economic Activity, including Business
        6.2.1 On Various Aspects of Economic Activity
        6.2.2 Aspects of (the activity of) assessing / measuring value
    6.3 Kinds of Value
        6.3.1 Measuring kinds of value using aspects

7. ENGAGING WITH MAINSTREAM THINKING
    7.1 Various Economic Theories with which to Engage
    7.3 Points To Discuss

8. CONCLUSION

9. REFERENCES

Links to the Eight Discussions:



1. INTRODUCTION

# Rethinking the economy [z101] from a Christian perspective.
# We aim for Healthy Living Environment (HLE) to which economic activity contributes, not just for economic growth nor even vibrant economy as such.
# HLE can be thought of as multi-aspectual. [z439]
# What we are doing is trying to build a frameowrk. [z715]

# Why rethink? GDP is deeply flawed [z873], so is much economic thinking, even that which seeks to reform or go beyond GDP; see [z813 section]. "What we need is to fix the market." [z308] # Now is an opportune time to rethink: See section on Change of Attitude and Behaviour after the Pandemic [z805 section]: higher value of nature, of e.g. cycling.

# In trying to rethink, we partly do so with the help of a list of Christian Values for which we ask "How might each Christian Value contribute to a HLE?" and "How do we get justice, joy, faith etc. into economic relationship?" [z437]. See section on Christian Values and the Economy below.

# What prevents us rethinking? e.g. presuppositions? [z103]

2. IDEAS AND CONCEPTS RE. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

This section is about basic ideas or concepts.

2.1 Widening the Idea of The Economy to Economic Activity

# What does it mean to be economy? [z104] # Throughout the discussions, we found ourselves discussing not just 'the economy', as a structure in which we all live, or an institution of global and national society, but more widely: economic activity. This includes the economy but also includes individual activity, and it includes not just money-oriented activity but also that which is beyond money and measure. [ab] # Moreover, economic activity is just one activity of human beings; see Non-Economic Contributors to Economic Activity. # Hence, throughout this document I will render our topic as "economic activity" rather than "the economy". [ab]

# We have many kinds of economic thinking: Why do we stick with GDP? [z121]
# Section on GDP [z813 section]. GDP easier to control, and based on transactions that can be counted [z896]. See also GDP as measure below.

2.2 Value and Good

# What is value? How many kinds of values are there? The refraction of value into modal aspects. [z109]
# Value and values. People's values are the collection of aspects they deem important. [z227] Value is value of a specific thing to a person, group or society.
# Value(s) as worth in general sense [Frankina] [z224]. Not just economic value but also e.g. beauty, grace, love, biodiversity, justice, efficiency, diversity, etc. Economic value is close to efficiency. [z226]
# But what is Good? Does Good link to value? What kinds of Good?
# Dooyeweerd's aspects might help [z106] c.f. Kinds of Value viewed through the lens of Dooyeweerd's aspects, each of which I see each aspect as offering the possibility of a different kind of Good, to enable the Creation to work well in harmony. [z227]

# Value in two places. (a) to the consumer, e.g. how I may buy organic etc. Value to me, consumer; (b) to wholesale side the commercial value, the stock of goods that firms hold. [z340]

# Some value cannot / should not be measured. e.g. ecosystem valuing v. ecosystem services. [Guntion et al. 2017] [z3xx]
# Externalities [z201].
# we shouldn't put a value on nature itself. BECAUSE (a) that can be abused quickly. [z342] depending on who sets the value; (b) also there are places in world that have geographic resources that others don't. [z343]
# value needs to be put on WHAT WE DO. [z344] c.f. Carney [z345]

# Beware Reductionism [z505]. Western thought tempted to reduce [z537].

# Are some professions or ambitions more valuable than others? e.g. brain surgeon r.t. movie actor? [z8a2]

2.3 On Economic Activity Doing Good and Harm

# Ask "how much of the wealth is used for a good purpose" [c.f. GHU, Good Harmful Useless] [z3xx]
# Many economists tend to presuppose that productive economic activity is Good, but much does harm. (e.g. Mariana Mazzucato.)
# I suggest that we need a serious discussion on Good and Harm done by economic activity, and how to determine and even measure it. [ab]

# See section in Discussion 3 on About Economic Activity Doing Good [z3xx].
# Example: Bank manager, instead of asking "how many customers want a mortgage?" could ask "how many customers will have a home?" Home is the Good that the economic activity of mortgage can bring about. Focus on Good means the bank manager can say "If you have less money, let us look at homes you can afford." [z304]
#. Also Harm. Example: those who live near a chemical factory [or main roads etc.]. [z3xx]

2.4 On Poverty (and Wealth?)

# "The poor cannot afford good." e.g. higher quality food. [z326]
# How much is enough money? [z339]
# Richard Walker, MD Iceland "Food is too cheap. UK spends only 8% of income on food - 2nd lowest." Not right. He supports Basic Income Scheme. [BBC R4 Any Questions 18 June 2021].

# There is a huge literature and many discourses on poverty from not only economic perspective but many others, e.g. justice, morale, psychology, education, etc. I suggest we need discussion on how to understand poverty more. Maybe (a) Christian idea of compassion motivates it as an important issue, (b) Dooyeweerd's can help distinguish aspects of poverty and how they interplay.

# Wealth? Apart from a suggestion that we should think abundance rather than of scarcity [z127], for some reason we did not seem to discuss wealth as the alternative to poverty - though we did discuss many of the mechanisms by which wealth came.
# Reflecting on why we did not discuss wealth: I wonder if is because wealth and poverty are not opposites. While wealth is meaningful with the economic aspect, is the real meaningfulness of poverty (why it is important) found in the juridical aspect? Poverty is an injustice. Things meaningful in different aspects cannot be opposites (nor synonyms).

2.5 Other basic issues to be added?

3. MECHANISMS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

This section collects points made about how economic activity functions.

# A thread through whole conversation is one of scale [z212].

3.1 Markets

# The market is efficient in creating capacity, jobs, businesses, etc. those that succeed, succeed, those that fail. ... But what we are not measuring is the outcome of those activities in human terms and in environmental terms. [implying zero care] [z323, z324]
# z1. What is the proper role of markets? Especially relating to e.g. legislation and voluntary activity (see below)? [z112]
# z2. market imperfections. Our market systems based on measurable efficiencies [z205].
# z2. We set up money as negotiating these. [z232]
# z3. We need to be careful about what we let the market do. [z311] Need to fix the market.
# z3. Somehow bad things seem to be cheap. c.f. above on poverty. [z327]
ab. However, fixing the market deals only with the Unproductive (the Useless) and does not tackle the possibiity that the Productive can do harm as well as good.

# z1. How does individual choice relate to social aspects? [z115]
# z1. Why do we stick with GDP? [z121]
# z1. To what extent do we need money (GDP)?

# z3. The profit motive. Has brought about a lot of good.
# z3. Motivation towards the Good more generally. So should we widen the discussion?
# z3. See section on Profit Motive in Discussion 3.

# z6. Section: On Financial Products: Stocks and Shares, Futures, CDOs [z605] Question: What good do they do? [z644] Understanding them via aspects [z606]

3.2 Non-Economic Contributors to Economic Activity


This subsection is about how e.g. justice, love, etc. contribute to (the health of) economic activity, especially HLE. We take economic activity to be just one among several human activities, all of which interact and interweave with each other.

# z3. government acts as gatekeeper, trying to match what they are making to what the nation needs. What people value. [z325]

# z4. Attitude [z433] that pervades society and hence market. JC: humility. love, serve others - as Christ did.

# z4. Technology [z422] [z443]. will be both a blessing and a curse in changing the behaviour of people.

# z6. On the Media and Its Role in The Economy [z608 section]. Bad news and the vociferous sell [z662]. Fiction and reality [z663].

# z6. Effect of Hope on the Economy [z611 section] Provides opportunity for investment, as long as honest/transaprent [z671].

# z7. Trust, trustworthiness, faith [z706 section].
# z7. Transparency [z707], putting problems out in the open [z770], so it becomes everybody's problem to solve [z773].

# There are others. [ab]
# Each of these (and the others) requires further discussion. [ab] # Note: We can also discuss the reverse direction: how economic activity affects each of these. But we did not do so much. It was suggested that we discuss how 'the economy' might foster Christian values.

3.2.1 Example of Aspectual Analysis of Other Aspects

(This has been added afterwards.) This section shows, from Mark Carney's book Value(s), how other aspects affect economic activity. He is discussing how banks collapse, and uses the Bank of Amsterdam as an example.

There are also social and aesthetic aspects involved. Also, from an interview on BBC Radio 4's Programme The Bottom Line on 8 July 2021, came the following:

Why is aspectual analysis important? Now, these things are well-known among economists, but they tend to try to weave them into their economic systems as economic factors. That results in confusion, because they try to squeeze our understanding of them in terms of laws of the economic aspect, but they don't work by those laws. The contribution that Dooyeweerd makes is to identify them as meaningful in different aspects, and hence working by different laws, thus removing the temptation and pressure to try to explain them in terms of economic laws, or even bend and complicate economic laws to account for them.

Just as mediaeval astronomers trying to explain the movement of planets and stars in terms of wheels on wheels on wheels revolving round the Earth, until they de-centred the Earth in astronomy, so we need to de-centre the economic aspect when trying to understand economic activity.

3.3 How Economic Activity Impacts Other Aspects of Life

# Externalities [z201].
# e.g. Each (activity) have a different ecol footprint. [z402]

3.4 On Measuring Value

Money and GDP involve / are measures of value. Since much economic activity involves money and contributes to GDP, measuring value is an important topic, and it was much discussed.

# z4. What do we want to try to measure? [z401] Target might be of different aspect for each kind of value.
# z4. Who are we measuring? Will this be voluntary or mandatory?

3.4.1 Initial Points on Measuring Value

# z3. How do we measure value?
# z3. Discussion 3 Has whole section on Measuring Value
# z5. Section on: On Measuring Christian values [z507]

# z3. is there a way there can be a measurement that can be attached to capital expenditures in certain areas that create an impact in the things we care about, the things that are 'good'. [z314]
# z3. When financialization began finding value in money flow itself, and not just in the transactions, then things go bad.

# z5. two things about 'value of [e.g.] friendship': (a) strength of friendship, which can be quantitative; (b) the good or value or benefit that friendship brings [z551] Section: Measuring Relationships [z511]

# z5. Summary on measuring half way through discussion 5. [some filled out below]

3.4.2 Role (Validity, Meaningfulness) of Measurement of Value

# z2. Important topic: the role of measurement [z240]
# z5. Section: When and Why Not to Measure [z508]
# z5. "If you don't measure you cannot manage" [z531] - Qn: When is that true, and when not? See Obedience.

# z5. Section: Measuring and Assessing [z502]

# z3. Measurement helps us how to look at achievement, how I have improved, how far I have come. z5. to assess progress. z5. e.g. in Christian values [z552] or Christlikeness [z562].
# z5. Actual progress whether or not measured / known about. [z562]
# z5. (If God is final judge, [how much] does it matter whether we measure? [Maybe Imago Dei => we too can judge?] [z562])

# z3. Not just about governance and achievement, but about stewardship and improvement. Goal setting, that performance management, that budget setting
# z4. Metrics / measuring / accreditation
# z5. Benefits of quantitative measurement [z506]: quantitative gives us an overview, [z539]. go deeper and investigate further in those areas. [z546]
# z5. analytical ease [z541]. Presentation [z542] Visualisation [z543] Benchmark [z544] z5. If you keep it to yourself it's different from putting it out. Because you know that someone is going to see that.
# z5. Some decisions [z545]. it helps prioritize.

5. Trying to measure (inappropriately) can stimulate conversation that helps clarify meaning. [z579]

# z5. Measuring involves an attitude as wall as an action? [z582] [z585]

3.4.3 Problems in measuring

# Section: Measuring Single Aspects in Context of Multiple Aspects [z513] c.f. reductionism
# Measurements make more sense when about single issues, i.e. single aspects. But are more useful and fruitful when they can encompass the whole of everything. [z573] # Measurement invites reduction (yanks our attention) towards single issues, but this distort understanding of reality. eg. if I tell you my height, you immediately are thinking about primarily about my body shape and not my love for my kids. Multi-aspectual measuring embraces whole of reality. [z573] [z574] [z575] This implies responsibility on the measurer [z580].

# z8. Some people start to abuse the measurements - cheat, falsify, whatever. [z841]
# If we set up a target, people find ways to play to targets. [z258]
# z8. Measurement can become a form of idolatry. [z842] Idolising measurement; getting things out of proportion [z583]
#. Improving the measurement and not improving the thing the measurement is trying to measure. [z581]

# z5. Another reason for not depending on measuring, some things cannot be measured with any meaningful accuracy. [z599]

# z8. GDP as a measure. Flaws of GDP [z897]: Not only all the problems with measuring above, but GDP is based on historical cost-driven transactions, hence backward-looking.

3.4.4 Some Values Cannot be Measured

# z5. Theme of Discussion 5: Non-measurement of values.

# z3. Problems with measuring value. z4. Problems with metrics.
# z3. We cannot measure some values, because some are matters of the heart. "Latent construct." But we can measure them via OUTCOMES. e.g. loyalty: number of years people have been in service.

# z1. What can be measured and what cannot? [z126]

# z5. value of friendship. [z549] how can you measure that
# z5. measuring love [z565]; faith [z566]
# z2. Carbon [etc] not in bottom line. [But Dasgupta suggests how, via Ecosystem Services approach] [z201]
# z2. Also NGOs that are actively naming and shaming companies. Ethical trade [z241] Is that a way of achieving good without measurement? [z123]
# z3. e.g. the Ecosystems Services framework: unthinking use of financial services perspectives for the natural world. We were critical about coverting creatures to money because they are not Created to serve us. See paper, Gunton et al. [2017].
# z3. ESS (affirmation of): it recognises a wide plurality and diveristy of kinds of good things. Dooyeweerd's aspects can help, but go beyond. See list in z3.

# MC talked about how we undervalue personal caregivers [z237]. The Value of Housework, Prostitution and GDP [z808 section]. Its value [z878]. Can impute value to it [z891] as with other things. Note: UN SNA 2025 recognises the need to bring housework into the equation.

# z3. e.g. ROI (return on investment) links with measuring outcomes. [z356]

3.4.5 Types of Measure

# z5. Sometimes (e.g. music) we can assess X as better than Y without being able to assign numbers. [z522] [569]
# z5. Types: Qualitative, quantitative (better, worse) and numerical (with numbers) [z554] Section: Two versions of Quantitative Functioning [z510] [z568]. ("pseudo measurement"? [z567])
# z5. Two different quantitative in aspects: (a) more aspects in which better; (b) better in one aspect, in sense of more in line with laws of an aspect [z555] [z568]
# z5. Section: Spatial Aspect [z503]. "Balance" and variety: combinations of measurements [simultaneity is enabled by spatial aspect] [z526]

# z5. longitudincal: measure along time (to assess progress). [z535]

# z4. Formative and Reflective Constructs.
(a) Formative constructs are measures of factors that transform into actions, 'cause' actions or situations, such as Healthy Living Environment. e.g. in trying to answer "How do Christian values help to ensure HLE?" the Christian values are expressed as formative constructs.
(b) Reflective constructs are measures of factors that express the 'caused' or aimed-for sitatuion; for example HLE might be measured by stats on happiness.
# z4. Both can be meaningful in each of Dooyeweerd's aspects. [z409] [z410]

# z4. Can help us determine to what extent Christian values can/dop contribute to a HLE. [z411]
# z4. Example from Christian Values: CA: I am giving to charity [formative c] in order to alleviate poverty and this is helping increase the number of soup kitchens [reflective c].

3.4.6 Indicators of Value

# zz. Kinds of measurements mentioned: Belbin test [z550]

# z3. I do think we need to create some index or value measurement that will measure good. [z306]

# z3. Investment banker says that investing money is the only way to tell if something works. [z318] [Q: In what way is that true and in what way false? Share price expresses a lot of different things and contexts because (in theory at least) lots of different shareholders with different beliefs, but in practice does it not just express the beliefs (pistic functioning) of the major shareholders?. e.g. Why have so few invested in LDNs?]

# z3. Could we use some other indicator than money, such as time (the day, number-of-days-without-injury as another way of measuring some kind of value.)?
# z3. in medicine we use longitudinal measurements to see if things improve. [z357]
# z3. what's missing is a universal standard [z354]

xx. Price as measure / indicator of value
# z4. the price should equate to [express] value.
# z4. Price encourages or discourages the actions that contribute towards HLE. [z413]
# z4. But often it does not. [z412] e.g. the good things are often more expensive than the bad things, so the poor are driven towards the bad things. [z412]
# z4. But Systemic-Societal Frameworks can change pricing. [z414]
# z4. Pareto Efficiency: I only do something only if it benefits both me and it benefits you - both of us. [z417] Xn Values could expand this. See below.

# z2. Economic levers we must pull but politics gets in the way. [z201]
# z2. government should have tax policies. [z204]

3.5 What Will The Future Be Like?

# 4th and 5th Industrial revolutions. [z348]
# The role of technology. e.g. AI. [z349] Maybe bring Christian values, or knowledge of Dooyeweerd's aspects, into AI systems so they 'work well'?

# More to be added.

4. PROBLEMS IN CURRENT ECONOMIC THEORY AND PRACTICE

This section collects points made about how economic activity is problematic.

4.1 Some Overall Problems

# What does it look like to not absolutize economics (the way our society tends to do) and yet gain the advantages of market thinking? [z128]

# Are our affluent economies bloated? [z1xx]

# We don't have a way of measuring e.g. housework, family care, love, biodiversity, faith, etc. [z237] [But UN SNA 2025 recognise this]

# Reflections about economic in general: The economy has become a tool for consequentialist ethics [z213].

# Problems with measuring value (see also Problems in Measuring above):

# The economy has been brought in as the easiest thing to measure [z214] (see also z894 in 8th discussion. ability to measure things is a problem. [z218]

# The idea of repugnant markets [z233].

# z3. the market needs to change, because the market is the common control point. And I don't believe we're going to change people's values. But the market is where everything is finally adjudicated. [z328] See above on Markets.

4.2 Economic stuff not working

# z3. Government subsidy fails to change behaviour: in USA billions of dollars (food stamp) provided for the poor to buy good food; but they load up their grocery carts with coke, pepsi, frozen pizzas, etc. and junk food. partly economic, partly because they don't have the mindset. [AB: Pistic aspect; this is why religious revival etc. could be important to economics]

# z4. Markets fail. e.g. But look what's the first thing we tried to do with carbon: we sold carbon credits - turn it into a market. NB: people have gamed the system. [z447]

# z6. Section: On the Evils Done by Investment Banks [z603] # z2. Speculators etc. attitude: if we win we make lot of money, if we lose, the government will bail us out. [z268]
# So if we can find a key which is enforcement: make sure people following rules and regulations. [z268] There is no policing. Who is following it? [z270]

# z4. Disadvantage of metrics: they are often fiddled to get the top score. [z405] Unintended consequences of metrics. E.g. accredication of homes etc. [z406]

# z4. Price does not properly express value. [z412]
# z5. wrongly assuming numerical implies objective. [z557]

# z8. Corruption [z868].

# Somehow bad things seem to be cheap. c.f. above on poverty. [z327]
# (e.g. pricing, harmful externalities)? [z4].

# the gap? The gap is "I don't care". The gap is zero market impact [for not caring] / JC: no penalty. [z425] [z426] [AB: Ethical and Economic dysfunctions respectively?]
# Two different problems: (a) responsibility [z427] [z647]; (b) monetization

4.3 Financialization / Monetization

# Monetization as idolatry of finance [z428]

# z4. Financializaton a problem. [z448]
# z3. stockbrokers create more money flow. Enable people to purchase things they cannot afford. [z313] Should we critique that? Something sounds wrong.
# z3. [Need to understand Role of lending and interest, and financial investments. ]

# z8. The Root Problem: The Idol of Mammon, the System of Money [z814]. Jesus said "You cannot serve God and Mammon" (KJV), an idol [z8a1]. More than just individuals deifying money, but rather the system of money, by which we all agree that money is all-important [z899].

4.4 Limitations in Various Ideas

# Mark Carney dodged various issues
# Mark Carney avoided the issue of the financialisation of all [z209].
# z2. Mark Carney avoided the issue of the financialisation of all [z209].
# z8. If you notice these people get paid very little compared to the service they offer. Yes Neal you are right here, Carney dodged the question. [z8b6]

RG: Dasgupta trying to bring biodiversity into GDP etc. rather than truly valuing nature for its own sake

z3: Mariana Mazzucato. Good against financialization and 'unproductive'. [z448] But (a) is restricted to an economic perspective / aspect, not giving due regard to other aspects [z820], and (b) presupposes all "productivity" is good and the main problem is "unproductive" [z3] See section Marianna Mazzucato Book [z801 section] for more critique.

AB: Kate Raworth Doughnut Economics presupposes that the ecological ceiling is above the social floor, as defined by reasonably affluent living
AB: Kate Raworth Doughnut Economics
AB: Kate Raworth Doughnut Economics
AB: UN SNA 2025 treats climate and environmental responsibility as one part of one part of one topic, and presupposes that global issues can be treated just as local ones can.

AB: In most, there is no real idea that some economic activity does harm rather than good, no serious investigation of such a possibility.

5. CHRISTIAN IDEAS

This section collects points made from an explicitly Christian perspective. In arranging them it is tempting to do so according to Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation, but this makes it difficult to do justice to the creational role of the economy. Instead, I use some of the R's of Overview of New View.

5.1 Creation Rejoicing: Intended Shalom

# God intended Creation to work well together, in 'joy' and peace etc.: Shalom, in both short and long terms. This is what we mean by Healthy Living Environment (HLE). [ab] Economic activity is part of this.

# z1. (Christian perspective:) Should we not have an attitude of abundance rather than of scarcity? How can we measure abundance? [z127]
# z3. Can we come up with a measurement system that has an economic benefit and a social benefit?

5.1.1 Specific to the economic aspect of reality

# z7. We believe in normativity, that says, there's a certain way God constructed reality and when we operate in line with that way, blessing follows, including in the economy. They the poor gain resources that is satisfying at least to witness if not to experience. [z748] The "fabric of Creation" [z750].

# z3. The nation's health an infrastructure [z329] that governments should invest in. # we need to do something to educate people to eat more fruit and veg. You can subsidise the fruit and veg, can help the farmers.
# z4. Christian values can expand Pareto Efficiency from "If it benefits both of us, do it," to "If it harms X, we shouldn't do it. If it increases stewarding the environment or creating shalom, then we should do it." This expands Pareto Efficiency to include environmental issues: benefit others that we do not know [z418] [z419] [z431] # z9. Moreover, the ethos of the Sermon on the Mount says "Doesn't matter if it's good for me; I'm doing this because I love you." [z9***]

# z4. Externalities and Responsibility [z420] [z424].
# z4. JC,NB: Example: Bitcoin / cryptocurrencies, which require huge power consumption, and currently contribute 2% of climate change emissions - and are expanding fast. [z449]

ab. [following from a piece of paper on which I scribbled thoughts]
ab. What is ownership of wealth?
ab. What is ownership of resources?

  • of cotton reels, sand, silicon, flour
  • of land, forest, river
  • mineral rights, fishing rights (c.f. the American who bought a house and hill in Glen Lyon in Scotland but did not have the fishing rights - and was despised by locals for that, because they held fishing rights to be important)
  • antiques, art
  • artefacts: a piece of technology, e.g. a car, a tool, a mobile phone

    ab. "What have you that you did not receive?" - might this inspirt/stimulate us to understand ownership in a different way? Received from from others, from upbringing etc., from the Creation, from God? [how to bring in the latter in a way that can be acceptable to all?] Link with others who recognise this.
    ab. In light of that, how might we understand skill by which we graft for the things we own?

    ab. Flow and generosity
    ab. Paul tells his readers to earn their own living - but not so they can have wealth but so that they will have something to give to the poor. ==> seems the ethical aspect is more important than the economic here, and retrocipates it powerfully!
    ab. "He who does not look after his parents is worse than an unbeliever." - how should we see that?

    # z3. Christ said "what does it profit a man and lose his soul". [z351]

    5.1.2 Christian Values and the Economy

    This summarises our discussion about each of several Christian values in a list we found, especially on how they enhance the economy in the light of HLE. [z207]. We do not assume these are 'the only' Christian values; what about Fruit of the Spirit, and even Dooyeweerd's aspects? However, they form a useful list from which to start.

    # z4. Kindness [z440] [note: not in the list, but discussed by us] Maybe part of grace.
    # z6. why isn't honesty on the list? [z673]
    # z6. The other virtue that I feel is missing in this conversation is Meekness, humility. [z677]

    # z8. Section On Measuring and Reporting Christian Values [z810 section]. (Reflective constructs)

    5.2 Role of Human Beings

    5.2.1 Some overall points about human beings

    # z3. The non-human Creation are not there to serve us. Looked at Psalm 104. Creatures not serving man. So we were critical about coverting them to money.
    # z2. Christian view needs to be tied to real human activity. [z211]
    # z2. Dominion: Not 'what can I control' but 'what can I enrich?' [z260], c.f. We have a mandate to "shepherd" the rest of Creation, not consumers nor even merely stewards or managers. But we could loosely call it "managing".
    z?5. [Beyond "You cannot manage what you cannot measure"] Sometimes "management" entails measuring, but sometimes not. Sometimes we manage / shepherd according to laws rather than measures - sometimes we manage guided by knowledge of laws by which Creation works well, and of which we are aware.
    # z2. issue of the common good. # z5. not only about respecting Creation, but "Love thy neighbour" [where rest of Creation is a neighbour] See Holy Spirit and Environment.

    # z3. Are we messing with God's Creation, e.g. by using AI? [z349]

    5.2.2 Humans as Image of God


    # z3. Humans are persons, not just a kind of thing, to be arb... [z350].
    # z3. We in God's image. Sounds arrogant, but it's not. We are God's creatures, but creatures of a different order. c.f. saying human life sacred. [z351]

    Christ said 'what does it profit a man and lose his soul'.

    # z1. Image of Man: can we work any longer with homo economicus? [that seemed to be a rhetorical question, with the answer "No"] [z114]
    # z1. How should Christians view individual consumption (especially in relation to our emphasis on responsibility)? [z117]
    # z5. Responsibility [z580] [z647]
    # z1. How do we see stewardship? [z118]

    5.3 The Reality of Sin

    # Can the idea of sin help us? And of redemption? (contribution from Christian perspective) [z119]
    # Human functioning and Good, Harmful and Useless. Should we think of the economy / money-flow as something that opens up the potential of human functioning, rather than as a thing in itself? [z132]
    # Implications: (a) The economy is not to be the central issue. (b) We must take into account the non-economy. [z132]
    [AB: The latter is being recognised in UN SNA 2025, but not the former.]
    # Human heart: selfish and idolatrous. [z259]

    # There is more to be said here, e.g. the various kinds of sin, which might be understood via Dooyeweerd's aspects. # Though sin is traditionally seen as breaking God's laws, or maybe an attitude of heart, and this is undoubtedly true, those views do not help us much with sin against others or against Creation.
    # Insofar as all Creation is interconnected, so that what we do affects others, and God loves those others (as well as 'me'), then my wrongdoing will harm those whom God loves. Hence God's justice is not in spite of, on in tension with, God's love, but emerges out of God's love inherently. See Interconnectedness. c.f. Relational ideas; Relational Foundation. [ab]

    5.3.1 What's going wrong with the economy?

    # To do: See all of Section 4: Problems .... To do: Interpret each via the lens of sin.

    5.4 Redemption / Salvation (Especially of Economic Activity)

    # z4. As Christians, we bring faith and hope to these questions [z430]
    # z4. humility. love, serve others - as Christ set example.

    # z2. Augustine: City of God and City of Rome. City of Rome never going to be morally perfect. will never have the righteous qualities because corrupt. Is there an answer? [z275] # Daniels vision: Jesus' kingdom is different and crumbles empire. [z276]

    # z3. Religious Revivals. [that government subsidies might not change behaviour] Almost a spiritual thing, of what people value. change heart of people. Example: welsh revival 1904. [z334] [z335]
    # z3. bringing them to Christ would be marvellos. [z336],
    # z3. But if people don't come to Christ, what point is there? Much, because God intended the whole creation to work well together, and Christ's people ripple out. [Tom Holland wrote of this 'ripple' effect.]

    5.5 Towards Christian Contributions

    (See also Engaging.)

    # z8. The idea of a "proper order to things", fabric of Creation that, if followed, brings wellbeing and HLE. A lot of the world is crying out for that idea now. [z886]

    # z3. Can we come up with a measurement approach that has an economic benefit and a social benefit?

    # z7. The Acceptability of Christian Values [z708 section].
    # z7. Suppose we embody Christian values in (e.g. into an AI system): will someone then say, "Unfair! You left me out!"? [z782] So some seek 'objective' knowledge without the values of any particular group [z783], but they cannot step away from owning their own values [z785]. Dooyeweerd can accommodate both views in that even though every 'crowd' brings presuppositions, all crowds function within the 'fabric of Creation' [z709 section].

    # Compassion motivates treating poverty as important, and Dooyeweerd helps distinguish its aspects.

    6. USING DOOYEWEERD'S IDEAS

    6.1 The Idea of a Multi-Aspectual Economy

    6.1.1 Aspects of Shalom, of HLE

    # z8. The fabric of Creation is multi-aspectual. When we're functioning well in all aspects, that is Shalom or HLE. [z8a6]

    # z4. Idea of Healthy Living Environment (HLE) is multi-aspectual
    Example: XZ: The Servicescape idea in marketing. which covers spatial, social, psychical, economic aspects.
    # z8. Using aspects helps me think, especially about overlooked aspects; great for complex problems. [z8a8]

    # z1. Should we think of the economy / money-flow as something that opens up the potential of human functioning, rather than as a thing in itself? [z132]
    # z1. And that human functioning is a mix of Good, Harmful and Useless (non-essential). [z132]
    # z1. And there is some human functioning that occurs regardless of economy. [z132]

    z6 Section: The Multi-aspectual Problems with CDOs [z606] People are struggling to understand what went wrong; [z653]; a multi-aspectual view could help, especially awareness of pistic and ethical asepcts.

    6.1.2 Aspects of poverty

    # Examples [ab]:

    # These all affect each other via inter-aspect dependency.

    6.2 Aspects of Real Economic Activity, including Business

    # z8. The Primary Role of Business. Qyalifying aspect of a business (determining its destiny, dignity and responsibility) is the economic. Not just about finance, but about resources and their management; norm of frugality. [z837] Also, this must be in service of other aspects, not primarily of the economic; c.f. Egbert Schuurman's principle that technology should be guided not just by the norm of the aspect that qualifies it, but by those of all the other aspects [z838].

    6.2.1 On Various Aspects of Economic Activity

    # z1. What is the kernel of the economic aspect of reality? (Mentioned: Frugality, efficiency, value, appreciation of value, stewardship, prudence, careful cooperation, maximize the good over the bad) [z105]
    # z1. How does the economic aspect of life relate to other aspects [see Note 1]? [z108]
    # z1. What should a multi-aspectual economy aim at? [see Note 1] [z110]
    # z1. What is the role of the faith aspect? i.e. How do the beliefs, commitments, assumptions that prevail in society (and in leaders) affect our functioning in other aspects, especially the economic? [z111]
    # z1. Might it not be better to employ the jural aspect i.e. legislation and control rather than measurement and quantification? [z123]
    # z1. Further to that, what is the role of the ethical aspect, which goes beyond the jural. z4. Attitude [z433]

    6.2.2 Aspects of (the activity of) assessing / measuring value

    # z5. Seeing Measuring and Assessing As Aspectual Functioning [z504]
    # z5. When assessing/measnuring we are reaching out (from quantitative) to other aspects. [z529]
    # z5. Quantitative aspect of measuring value: We can say "better" or "more/less" but not necessarily assign numbers [z522].
    # z5. Spatial aspect of measuring value: simultaneity of factors (combinations, variety) [z503] [z526]
    # z5. Kinematic aspect: look for changes, not just one number: longitudinal. [z535]
    # z5. Analytical aspect: Section: Analytical aspect of measuring. Differentiating better from worse etc. [z512]
    # zx. Lingual aspect: Expressing the measurements.
    # z5. Social aspect: what is valuable to one person is not necessarily to another person [z527]; Section: Means Different Things to Different People [z514]. Relationship [z528]. Agreeing value [z556]
    # z5. Economic aspect: measuring things profitably. Only use measurements when the use of measurement is worthwhile by some metric other than the measurement itself. [z560]
    # z5. Ethical aspect: Measuring involves an attitude as wall as an action? [z582] [z585]
    # z5. Pistic aspect: Pride, saying "Look how good I'm doing". [z598]

    # These all affect each other via inter-aspect dependency.

    6.3 Kinds of Value

    ab. Each aspect defines a different kind of value, good.

    # A few examples from our discussions:

    # z3. reputation is a kind of value [z341] - [pistic and social aspects]
    # z3. electromagnetic exposure as a kind of pollution [biotic aspect]
    # Home life stability
    # Love (ethical aspect)
    # Faith, aspiration (pistic aspect)
    # Trust (ethical and pistic aspects)
    # Biodiversity and sustainability (biotic aspect)
    # Resources (economic aspect)
    # Opportunity (formative aspect)
    # Justice (juridical aspect)

    # How can each of these be measured (quantitatively)? Can we? Should we? When and when not?

    6.3.1 Measuring kinds of value using aspects

    # z3. Can we measure via aspects? [z341, just after]
    # z2. Our UK National Children's Society brings out report: children in UK least happy. Not measuring money. [x252] # could address childhood happiness index. But not meet richard's concern. Dooyeweerdian simultaneious realizaton of norms. [z253] # sometimes measure sometimes not. [z255]
    # z3. Examples of how aspects can be used to identify benefits to humankind.
    ab. Dooyeweerd's aspects can inform our choice / generation of both formative and reflective constructs. Because aspects are what make constructs meaningful and 'define' and enable their meaningfulness. e.g. children's charities: ethical aspect.

    # z5. Measuring single aspects. "I cannot come up with a measurement that doesn't yank our attention in the direction of that measurement" [c.f. Dooyeweerd's understanding of the first 'step' in theoretical thought: abstract one aspect to focus on, which distorts our view.] [z573] [z574] [z575] Acting in world requires all aspects. [z577]

    7. ENGAGING WITH MAINSTREAM THINKING

    This section contains points about how to engage fruitfully with other perspectives.

    # On why we should engage with mainstream thinking, see e.g. Engaging with Thinking Going On in the World.

    # z4. How will it be possible for secular organizations to accept input from a Christian viewpoint? lot of ways to use language to make faith principles acceptable.

    # z8. Jesus spoke in parables, partly so that people would think about things and come to their own conclusions [z887]. We might do the same.

    7.1 Various Economic Theories with which to Engage

    x1: GDP, Ecosystem Services, Dasgupta, Carney, Marianna Mazzucato, Doughnut Economics, Circular Economy, Regenerative Economics, green economy, triple-line model, Genuine Progress Indicators, Better Life Index, Human Development Index, Wellbeing Indices, etc.
    # z4. Andrew Smith [z417]
    # z4. Pareto Efficiency: see above on how Christian thought can enrich it.
    # z4. Dasgupta Review - but limited. [z429]
    # z4. Gini Coefficient
    # z3. microcredit,
    # z3. stakeholder versus shareholder theory
    How do we take these into account, and engage with them?
    # z1. e.g. Doughnut economy etc. tries to expand the realm of pricing (quantitative value) to factors not previously included, and rely on market mechanisms to bring good in those aspects. But can it really do so? [z123]
    ab. e.g. stakeholder v shareholder theory: might stakeholder theory be an acknowledgement of Good rather than just economics.

    xx. Suggestion: LACE: Listen, Affirm, Critique, Enrich. But do so, not piecemeal, but rather working from a paradigm we have worked out.
    # z2. Importance is exchange between two people who hold different values [z228]. How to even articulate differences in values [z229].

    # z2. Note: Accountants look at what wage paid; economists, what wage should be paid. [z238] ***

    7.3 Points To Discuss

    This collects some (not all) of the suggestions made for what to discuss in future.

    # z3. Would it be good to discuss: How much is enough money? On what basis to decide? [z339]
    # z3. Look at some of the surveys that have been done. [z353]
    # z5. When is "to manage we must measure" true, and when not? When is obedience better? [z532]
    # z5. Is it better to not measure, or to find a better measure? [z548] [z589] When and why?
    # z5. When is actual progress more important than measuring progress? If God is final judge, [how much] does it matter whether we measure? Maybe Imago Dei => we too can judge? [z562])[z588]

    # z6. Re Grace: How do we apply grace in situations of injustice? Can Dooyeweerd's aspects help, by freeing us from focusing on one aspect?
    [z637] Grace towards structures as well as individuals? [z642] Might the following Summary of grace-justice tension be helpful?

    # z7. Are Christian values just yet another set of values alongside all the others, or do they somehow express the way Creation works well in all its aspects in harmony? Probably a bit of both. [z792]

    # z7. (In reverse: How do we construct an economic system can encourages Christian values? [z714]

    # z8. To Discuss: Does that raise the question of how high a value we should place on the survival and flourishing of any given individual businesses?

    # z8. Discussion: Given there is a difference between equality and justice, why is it that so many equate the two, at least loosely? Why do inequalities feel unjust? [z863]. Dooyeweerd might help inter-aspect analogy: equality is an economic issue that echoes the juridical idea of justice?

    # Discuss: Broaden and deepen discussion of 3.2 Non-Economic Contributors to Economic Activity, to (a) look for others, (b) discuss each more deeply, (c) then also, in reverse, how economic activity contributes to each of these.

    # z8. Discuss: On what basis may we judge the value of different professions or ambitions?

    # z9. We need more discussion on how the Christian ideas of human sin and God's redemption through Christ can contribute to the field of economics. []

    8. CONCLUSION

    # The material above is from points actually discussed. There is of course much that we did not discuss. Hence what follows is not just a summary but reflectively abstracts away from the specific points, looking at what we did more than what we said.

    # Seeing the economy this way can be facilitated and explored by using Dooyeweerd's aspects and idea of multi-aspectual human functioning. This could provide a useful framework for understanding the following widenings:

    (see 6. USING DOOYEWEERD'S IDEAS)

    # They can be further enriched by a Christian perspective, which takes seriously the reality of human sin and the possibility of redemption that is made possible by God in Christ and not just human effort.

    (see e.g. 5.3 The Reality of Sin and 5.4 Redemption / Salvation (Especially of Economic Activity) - though they need much more discussion)

    # Christian values: a list found elsewhere was discussed (5.1.2 Christian Values and the Economy). Though we recognised that that list is by no means complete, three benefits arose from doing so:

    # The contribution of our discussions, therefore, seems to be (a) to widen beyond conventional economic discourse, (b) to open up the possibility of an avowedly Christian perspective in economics.
    # And to do so without 'taking sides' in the supposed battle between socialism and capitalism (or market v planned economy).

    9. REFERENCES

    Carney M. 2021. Value(s).

    Gunton RM, vanAsperen E, Basden A, Bookless D, Araya Y, Hanson DR, Goddard MA, Otieno G, Jones GO. 2017. Beyond ecosystem services: valuing the invaluable. Trends in Ecology and Evolution April 2017, 32 (4), 249-257.


    Holland T. 2019. Dominion.


    Mazzucato M. 2020. The Value of Everything. See Comments on Mazzucato.


    Schuurman E. 1980. Technology and The Future, Wedge Publishing.


    UN SNA: United Nations Statement of National Accounts 2025: Rethinking SNA and GDP etc. to bring in housework, environment, etc. for 2025.



    First compiled: 23 June 2021 by Andrew Basden. Last updated: 25 June 2021 some added notes; wrote conclusion. 30 June 2021 added reference in Conclusion. 1 July 2021 added link; a few changes in Conclusion and others elsewhere. 4 July 2021 added a missing "not"! 8 July 2021 e.g. of other aspects, from Marm Carney. 9 July 2021 redid title. added lingual aspect example, small text. 27 July 2021 added wee explanation to Obedience.