8 October 2021
Reith Lectures Discussion Group
[Notes were taken by AB during the discussion, then filled out and corrected from transcribing the zoom audio recording. "# AB" indicates AB speaking. "[AB ...]" denotes AB as transcriber and editor, somewhat independent of AB speaking. 25 October 2021.]
# Particpating: NB, AH, JC, AB (host), CA later. Apologies from RG, NO.
# [AH was welcomed as a new participant and each introduced themselves. What each person told the others is on the recording, but has not been transcribed here.] [zc40]
------------ RECORDING 1: "z12-audio-GMT20211009-151519-main.m4a"
# AB: Welcome, especially AH.
# AB opened in prayer.
# AB: Each of us has five minutes to express what they think are the key advances during these discussions. Key advances in economics, Christian thinking and so on. We don't want it to be discussion for the sake of it, nor one person's view. [zc41] Did any one see that email?
# NB: Yep. # AH: Yes I did, but although I have seen your lecture series, I did not really feel, did not know what kind of contributions would apply. # AB: except that you (AH) have read a lot of the Christian Rethink.
# NB: As I've been thinking back, the economic insight we have coalesced around: a lot of modern economists talk about externalities. issues that involve benefits or detriments that are not borne by the decision makers and so are not factored into the price. That's not a new concept to economics, but our notion of aspects and multi-aspectuality can bring some insight to the concept of externalities. [zc42] ***
# If not insight, a way to think ahout not only what the externalities are, but perhaps there's a way forward to how to bring those externalities back into the pricing decisions or the transaction decision in a way that makes those externalities less detrimental. [zc43]
# I particularly think of the classic example of externality right now is climate change, the person who chooses to do some action that results in CO2 being emitted doesn't have to bear the costs of that because the costs are borne by the entire world in the distant future.
[AB: C.f. Garrett Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons ]
# I don't think there is any nice magic bullet to solve this, but multi-aspectuality and the fact that there is a juridical norm and an economic norm and a social norm and a lingual norm can give us a way of thinking about the complexity of benefits and detriment that are hidden from the pricing model that is a large part of what goes into making a decision. [zc44]
# [Example] Someone who decides to fly rather than drive, or fly rather than take a boat across the Atlantic, is making that decision for a variety of reasons but price is a big part of it and as long as carbon is not part of that price, right now our economic system says the carbon is invisible to the decision maker and I think our multi-aspectuality can provide a way to make that impact visible. [zc45]
# Either as part of the price, for example as carbon taxes, or make it visible to the decision makes explicitly recognising that it is not part of the price but we need to take that into account anyway. [zc46]
# NB: A long meandering description of the benefits of aspectual thinking. But I think that externalities are one of the things that modern economics is kind of an unsolved problem, and we may have a contribution to make there. [zc47]
[AB: c.f. Widen to multi-aspectual value]
# AH: I'm really excited about what N was saying. It's been very much on my mind as well.
# AH: Let me say that I work closely with Citizens Climate Lobby. If you put that into a browser "citizensclimatelobby.org" and we are promoting the Energy innovation Act .org. A carbon dividend system where the dividend is returned to all US tax payers, returned in equal shares. So when a fossil fuel is put into the economy either by drilling or mining, then a fee is collected and then it's redistributed in dividend to all Americans.
# And this is an attempt of course to correct that market failure that N is talking about, to account for those externalities, those harms that all of us in the world bear, especially those who can least afford it or have least ability to adapt.
# So that's very exciting.
[AB: Suggestion: AH might like to offer aspects to the Citizens' Climate Lobby. ]
# Moving from the practical to the more philosophical question (and I'm hoping your expertise in the WdW can give me more insight into this): If we say that a certain proportion of people are dying due to lung cancer or being displaced due to rising sea levels, or anything like that, with the secondary cause of climate change and burning fossil fuels - We're putting a price on all that to correct for market failure: Is that reductionistic? [zc48]
# So what are the relations between the different aspects. [zc49]
# And when we state something in numeric terms and in economic terms of rewards and investments: is that reductionistic in the sense of saying that one aspect is equal to another or less important than another?
[AB: Also, of course, there is the problem that governments then become dependent on those harmful practices to generate tax flow for them. It seems that cannot be solved by reference to the economic and quantitative aspects alone but might it be by reference to dysfunction in other aspects?]
# NB: That is an excellent question, AH.
# There is a sense in which talking about economics, and talking about how to set the correct price on carbon:
# We have had a similar discussion on measurement.
# I do not know the answer on how to move forward on that [dilemma]. To make tools that we're currently using better, at the same time as maintaining the ability to critique the fact that we're using the tools at all. [zc50] ***
[AB: Comment: Maybe see the aspects involved in the functioning in each case, then see what is valid in them and what is not. For example, using the tools maybe does not need to be idolatrous? Idolatry is dysfunction in pistic aspect, so if using tools of measurement avoids idolatry then maybe it can be OK. However, that does not obviate the need to consider different systems, different approaches. Doing so is part of the pistic functioning we engage in, but can be positive rather then dysfunction.]
# AH: I have more to ask and say about that but I don't want to dominate the discussion too much. Thanks N; those are right along my concerns.
# NB: I mentioned the concept of externalities and the possibility of aspectuality bringing insight there is one of our big contributions.
# The other one, that we've kind of danced around without really hammering on it is the role of grace, the role of generosity.
# The fact that our economic system, at least the capitalist system, assumes self-interested individuals. In fact we don't have to be that way. We can be sacrifical in our living. [zc51]
# It's something unique that Christianity brings to economics, and I think there's some real power there to make [contributions] - if "contributions" is the right word. There's nothing new about the idea that Christians give of themselves for the good of others, or ought to. [zc52]
# But in the economic world, just a stubborn reminder that the iron law of self-interested individuals acting is not as iron as our economic thinking makes it seem.
# AB: Thank you. Any comments on that?
# AH: Maybe we could state it as "Economics assumed all of those self-interested individuals."
# And then capitalism of course tries to harness that energy and further the public good. [zc53]
# So, the question we need to ask is: "Is that a creational mandate or the way God designed it or how it's supposed to be?" [zc54] ***
# AB: That's a good question.
# NB: A critique of self-interest is not in itself a critique of capitalism. Because the observation that an awful lot of people do act primarily out of economic self-interest is a legitimate observation. We can have an economic system that takes that and produces good.
# NB: I'm not opposed to that but I don't want to be limited by it either.
[AB: Comment: That something good can come out of what we deem dysfunction - is that the grace of God in designing Creation to work that way? ]
# AH: (Thinking out loud a little bit here, I would say that) Maybe our answer to that question, that I brought up five minutes ago, about reductonism and trying to put a price on everything.
# Maybe that answer differs depending on whether you are talking about the "is" versus the "ought".
# IN other words, in God's original plan, maybe we could have relied on people acting ethically and juridically, and in all these other ways, where people would be aware of these different aspects and not reducing them, or not looking at everything purely from a monetary standpoint. [zc55]
# That's the 'ought'.
# But now, given that we are in a fallen world, maybe solution in this time before Christ comes back, maybe we need to handle things differently. How does one navigate that, and still be a signpost to the King [God] and to His Kingdom? [zc56]
# AB: Any quick comments on what AH has just said?
# AH: I hope my reference to "signpost" is clear - the idea of pointing the way to God and his goodness and being a substantiation of the way things are supposed to be? We cannot hope to fix everything till that final consummation with the New Jerusalem. But at least we can point people to the way and remind people of how God had designed everything good. [zc57]
[AB: Comment: Similar to the idea of Representing God? ]
# AB: Maybe I'll say something.
# It's that we living in what's called the time of the overlap between the 'kingdom' of God and the 'kingdom' of this world. And it's always going to be a struggle. But, in a way, our role here or our life here is a kind of training ground for the life to come. And what we built on "gold, silver and precious stones" as it were [quoting I Corinthians?] will last into the life to come, and what we built on "hay and stubble" will get "burned up" [i.e. not be carried through to the life to come]. [zc58]
# And so, I am hopeful that we don't have to put up, or see as necessary, something that is less than what God wanted. And we will engage with the world and what is produced. And in fact, God affirms what the world produces. But we don't have to see it in the way the world does. [zc59]
# An example of this, I think, is City.
# City, I've seen for a long time is [as] evil, a place where evil occurs. Cain [in the Bible, the first perpetrator of murder] was the first person who built a city, possibly in rebellion against God's promise that he would be a wanderer. And cities even today are full of evil and vice predominates. [zc60]
# Including, where there's not vice, there's evil of like economic reductionism, or pride, [or self-seeking,] or anything like that, and so on. (London I think is particularly bad!)
# So, that made me think [originally] [AB: AB is doing a lengthy preamble to get to his point! - keep reading] cities were of the devil.
# But at the end of Revelation, there is a City! :-) [zc61]
# So, somehow, cityness is there, woven into the possibility of Creation and although humans mess it up, there is still something valid about cityness. [zc62]
# So, there's an example [of how God can affirm what humans sinfully produce]. [zc63]
# So, "is versus ought" - the "is" might have some validity even though it's sinful.
[AB: What AB was getting at, underneath all that, was that the way God designed Creation to work well for Good, included the possibility of city - or anything else that seems sinful in our situation and at this moment. The validity is in the enabling-and-guiding laws that God designed into the fabric of Creation; the sinfulness is what we humans make of those possibilities when we function negatively.]
# AH: What has led you to see cities as evil in your previous thinking? Was it the fact that we see crime or pollution or unhealth or ...?
# AB: People are trying to outdo one another in cities. In Cities you get class structures. And all sorts of things. [AB had not really got a set of examples in mind!] So it's not just vice and crime, prostitution and things like that. But pride, arrogance - "arrogance, affluence, unconcern" [Ezekiel 16:49] - become fashionable, fashions dictate things. All sorts of things.
# I mean: in every aspect: is multiple ... but that does not /
# AH: I'm not yet convinced that things are worse in cities than versus the country. But that's an extraneous issue. I don't want to hijack the conversation.
# NB: It's that people are more concentrated in cities, so fallenness is more concentrated. But redemption will also be more concentrated in cities. Just because of: that's what density is.
# AB: [Laugh] That's a good way of putting it.
# AH: One might speculate that the movement from the Garden to the City, from Eden to Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem, that is, was in God's Plan as well. That's been a topic of musing for me for years and years.
[AB: AH has a good point. Human sin is the root problem, in its various forms. That occurs in countryside as well as cities. But maybe it's more concentrated in cities. And maybe there is in cities more pressure to compete socially, or conform to what people expect or applaud. ]
# AB: OK, right. That's a bit of excursus on cities.
# That was only an example. [laugh]
# [JC or TB invited to state key advances]
# TB: Key advances that I had made a note of was on the interesting point of measuring value.
# How we quantify it, or evaluate it. [zc64]
# I think it really has been more the word that we have moved to.
# And whether them something fundamentally missing there. [zc65]
# I think how we understand value, quite naturally, the previous discussions have gone into the aspectual domain. [zc66]
# I suppose the selling-point to the outside world / If a paper was to be written or maybe a blog that told the outside world "This is what we have established" I think it's actually really knowing [that] we've got on top of reinventing the wheel, in the sense that - you know, people talk about business with values - but is that narrowed to really just the ethical elements, and maybe the environmental elements, of that business? [AB: I think TB is talking about multiple aspects of value] [zc67]
# That's a very narrow single aspect, isn't it.
# I know, of course, our selling-point would be our ??? it's much wider than this.
# And then giving us concrete examples of how we can evaluate, and audit the value of a business, based upon those aspects.
# And how we would put that there. And it's probably that we cannot put a score against it per se, but it's more a case of, I suppose, commending the examples of strength that that business has shown in those aspects of value. But where it's, probably, shown neglect - needs to have reason to pay attention to.
# Where we going with it, in a way, that I would see being the advance.
# I would see an interesting paper to be written on that - where I'd see us hacking out some of those details.
# NB: [Clarifying] The idea of helping the world expand what we mean by the word "measurement" - would that be a way of restating what you said, TB, or are we talking about the business environment?
# TB: I suppose you could put the same thing on a charity, almost. It's understanding the breadth of the value. It's not [so much] that we would measure that, but more that we would understand its meaning and scope and all, and do an evaluation of that. [zc68]
# How does one set a standard for that? We have institutions or whatever that will put an approval label on e.g. carbon compliance, or CO2 compliance, or whatever. Or a kite-mark for health and safety. Another question: Who would be the institution that did that in the first place? Is it a markup?marker label that is foolproof? [zc69]
# ?? an academic body ??? realised this needs /
# NB: I liked your phrase "moving from measurement to understanding the meaning of." [zc70] ***
# As a / understanding the meaning of something, being a superset of measuring it.
# TB: Could be. But I guess that where the line comes on whether it's measurement or not, it's that on measurement, you would put a metric scale and put a score against it. I think that: kind of maybe not where we were: all aspects of value not really wanting to use. [zc71]
# TB: It maybe that there is a ranking there, where it's "Showing exceptional examples" or "Has room for improvement" or / Maybe a kind of thing there. But even then, when you once start doing that, there's still then "Why are we ticking that and not that?" [zc72]
# It would always be very hard to say that one organisation got a certain category there, whilst the other didn't. And they probably did different things of equal value. [zc73]
# So it's really, well, commending the good things and finding that there are areas for improvement. And actually, it wouldn't be fair to say there's a volume of commendation or a volume of areas for improvement. And it may mean on their next evaluation that may still show that there's still areas of improvement but they've identified new areas by improving the ones before. [zc74]
# Because it's a sort of trial and error process. [zc75]
# AB: That's very helpful. I can see some links back to some of the discussions we've had, actually.
# JC: Key advances that I perceived and learned from were addressing an unknowable issue. Because we can measure new things. To kind of hit on the themes that both NB as well as TB have shared.
# The project for providing some guidance for mechanisms for measurement, for the unknown, unpaid labor force, that's the project key that I've been kind of recognising / that's the key advancement. [zc76]
# We can bring life and understanding to previously unknown areas because we don't look at economics as the idol. We look at it as a possible part of the analysis. We try to include, by retropancies or dependencies across the aspects, how else we can see how to advance a more just and appropriate and God-centred understanding of things. [zc77]
[AB: This is the theme of widening the scope, mandate or focus of economics beyond its own aspect to all aspects, to take all aspects into account. To do so, we need to understand the importance of every aspect, and also of inter-aspect dependencies in both retrocipatory and antecipatory directions. ]
# NB: Our discussions of bringing unpaid labor into the economic picture - you use that as an example of what you're talking about. Could you explore that a little bit?
# By bringing unpaid labor we are stating there is actually a value that is not accounted for. [AB: Widening Value] [zc78]
# Even looking into the say??of saying, "Let's look at this class of activity, human activity, that hasn't been factored in to what is previously seen as value for the national accounts, for governments, to better assess the overall value of the economy. [zc79]
[AB: Also, unpaid activity should be valued at the household and individual levels not just national.] [zc80]
# It's an expansive view of what the economy should include. [AB: Great way of putting it] [zc81]
# It's not productive, because there's not a line of money going in and causing output. It's done at no cost. [zc82]
# So the difficulty of analysing how you even balance child rearing, education, care for the elderly, cooking meals, fixing ??? [AB: Those are some of the categories that SNA 2025 lists.] - how do you even understand that has a necessary thing to understand to include in overall economic activity? [zc83]
# That's where I kind of see the neat thing that we did and we can grow forward. [zc84]
# JC: Does that help, NB? # NB: Yeah.
# NB: For example, if I live in a neighbourbood that has a healthy sociology, and I know my neighbours and I trust them, and I need to run to the grocery store but I don't feel like waking up my 3-year-old from her nap, I can run to the neighbout and say "Hey could you watch my kid for 15 minutes while I run to the store." [zc85] ***
# That's a / A society that's functioning well that our economics has no way of measuring and therefore valuing. [zc86]
# JC: Correct. That's inter-household. There's thousands of inter-household situations that are also / that's a very good example, NB, exactly.
# We just push that issue so that we could say maybe we can could examine this is this way. [zc87]
# XX: Thank you.
# AH: AB, I forwarded you a link for Robt F kennedy's famous speach from 1968. He spoke about a topic there that relates very closely to what we are talking about here: the limitations of GDP, Gross Domestic Product. [zc88]
# And how not only are some important activities omitted, such as what JC said. but also some [harmful] activities are included [in GDP] that do not contribute to human wellness. Such as pollution, such as health care for human-caused disasters, and unhealthy situations, such as the locking up of vast proportions of the American population in jails. [AB: Widen to recognise harm too] [zc89]
# And the security that is needed due to our immorality, crime, and so forth. [AB: a version of harm harming the economy] [zc90]
# So it goes both ways. Not only does GDP ignore some things, but it also includes some things that maybe don't really merit any measure of [value] human health.
# I could find that link. It was actually a very moving and poignant speech. # JC: Would like to see that.
# chat: 00:59:52 AH: RF Kennedy's speech: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy%27s_remarks_at_the_University_of_Kansas
# AB: He gave that warning back in 1968! Why haven't we listened? [zc91]
# AH: Well, he was a Democrat I believe. At least of one part or another. Just because one party says something, another party thinks it's wrong.
# JC: This / I would love to see that. It's always quick to understand.
Quick to wonder: why was he rejected so violently in certain ways?
And this would get to one of those things: like, we don't measure things appropriately.
[AB: Comment: That is very sad - heinous even! The commitment to war against 'the other party' is responsible again and again for blocking good that could come into the world! From a Christian perspective, it seems to me "arrogance" of Ezekiel 16:49. From a Dooyeweerdian perspective, it seems to be dysfunction in the pistic aspect (idolatry). And of course our pistic functioning retrocipates our functioning in all other aspects. So this is a good example of how pistic functioning impacts economic functioning at a very top level that is influential over the longer term. ]
# JC: One of the outcomes of this project that's transformed my own mind is the reality that if we are not valuing current activity in the economy appropriately, why don't we just look at the future facing or past facing? [zc92]
# In my own heart and mind, suddenly I'm a little bit more open to the concept of reparations. Because if unpaid labor is a part of our current economy, and it promotes the ability for people to participate in the paid economy, then if we assess time, well our entire society is built on unpaid labor.
# And so we should look at time, and say "How far back or how far forward should we offset the costs of the unpaid labor, or the damage that we've done to certain parts of the economy?" [zc93] ***
# And that's made me thnk in a different way. So, those are my comments, at the end.
[AB: Does this require a radically different way of thinking about value and costs? What are costs? Bringing in future and past like that suggests we need to think more dynamically, e.g. seeing value and money in terms of functioning rather than as commodity? ] [zc94]
# AB: That was one of the big things that got us involved with the United Nations Statistics Department, attempt to rethink, redesign the system of national accounts [SNA 2025]. They are actively trying to bring unpaid labour, or unpaid something, in. Whether they'll succeed or not, I don't know. But they are certainly trying to bring these things in. [zc95]
# AH: There are probably been some discussions to date about the ability to measure those.
# Just from this standpoint of collecting the necessary data, and as a statistician, that would be a big concern of mine. Have they said very much on that? [zc96] ***
# AB: Yes. I'll - I think this is before you joined us. I'll send some stuff through. I'll also send a link. Because you might actually be interested in commenting on them. What's happening is that every couple of weeks, a new thing comes up onto their site of [asking for comments] / Here is / they give you a / they put it up and they give you a month to put in comments, and then it's closed. And quite a lot of them are statistical. [zc97]
# AB: But one of the things, as I understand it, is that they are proposing, for unpaid labour, to value it according to (something about) what it would cost in the market. Some kind of average. They don't call it an average - and you probably understand all this better than I would. But there's a lot of stuff there that I just glossed [over] - you know: it just went in one eye and out the other!
# AH: I could see that being fraught with a number of unverifiable assumptions. Such as how many older people are being cared for by their children, versus living in nursing homes, and that could be a big quagmire of either trying to collect the data or making reasonable assumptions to make up for the lack of data. # JC: [made some affirmative remark] [zc98] ***
[AB: Statistics and data collection is something we have not properly discussed so far. ] [zc99]
# AB: They seem to have covered quite a number of those things. - But I'm easily impressed!
[AB: An example of challenges in trying to measure unpaid care is that if an adult is being cared for by a child, then at the same time that child might be being 'cared for' by that adult, in the sense of keeping them supplied with finance to purchase food, or legal protection and status, etc. So would accounting for those separately double-count them? Instead of trying to think in terms of the commodity that is money or cost, would it be better to value the human functioning involved more directly - such as 'physical' care by the child and 'legal' protecting and status by the adult? Aspects can help us account for them separately without double-counting. ] [zca0]
# JC: to AH: When you mention that quagmire of unmeasurables, only of things that we could /
# That's what I think we could do. [a contribution] [zca1]
# Not stated with arrogance but, by not looking at economics and the dollar as the end-all, be-all - like, bringing all those things down to the ground, looking at more expansive measurement structures, and what should be included, moving into that quagmire. Like, all the moving into the more complexity. That's where I think that the possibilities of what we could do are. [zca2]
# AH: I would love to see an example. It's hard for me to visualize out of ???.
# NB: A legitimate concern about that JC is our propensity for confirmation bias and all kinds of other cognitive biases. [zca3]
# One of the nice advantages of numerical data is that it's less amenable to being / it gets in our face when it does not agree with the way we thought the world was. And so when you don't have good collected data on how many people are caring for their parents at home [e.g.], then everyone brings their own political biaes to the discussion. And that doesn't mean we shouldn't have the discussion, but we should be prepared for the complexity not only of the situation we are discussing but of the biases we bring to it. [zca4] ***
# NB: I'd have added "Be prepared for that" I don't know what that means. [AB: Not clear whether "that" refers to the statement "Be prepared for that", or the "that" in the statement, or what NB had just been saying, or what JC had said.]
# AB: That's a good point; it helps us to see the value of measuring, even when there are problems. So we don't need to react against measuring but can properly see its value.
# AH: I like Dooyeweerd's humility in many parts of his New Critique. He recognised that this is but one formulation of the different aspects, and there could be others. He never made himself look like a stuffed shirt, so to speak, saying "this is the way it has to be." We can follow that example. [zca5]
# JC: Absolutely. NB, what you shared about the particulars of what you brought from TB's ideas and his influence of "How to measure", and AH's specific skillset with statistics, something that's been moving is really the question of measurement.
# Like that's been a deeper ??? NB you ??already?? brought that up. And it's precisely how to measure better how to assume a broader but also more accurate definition of what should be included [in measuring] before we make a final decision. in light of the aspectual dependencies of these different decisions.
# JC: And it's been a revelation to listen to all these people, from their different expertise, to kind of speak into these places. And it does call into question, how do we even come to a point of measure? That's a central issue. [zca6] ***
[AB: The question of what should be included is the first of Dooyeweerd's transcendental questions in all theoretical thought, of which measurement is one kind. It is a question that ultimately cannot be resolved by logic, and requires a choice of what is meaningful and what is not - a commitment to some aspects over against others. So some aspects will always be omitted, so measuring, as indeed all theoretical thought, will necessarily give a distorted view of reality. See page explaining Dooyeweerd's view of theoretical thought. ]
# NB: Adding to that, JC, the fact that we have to act before we have certainty, before we (that's ["certainty"] not the right word) have a
sufficient amount of measuring done. We cannot wait for all the data to come in before we act, because it won't ever all come in. We act in the face of uncertainty. In the face of knowing we don't know enough to act optimally. [zca7]
# AH: Now you are talking my language. That's my business, making decisions in the midst of uncertainty.
[AB: AH's expertise is in statistics, especially Bayesian statistics, and he published a book. Hartley AM. 2008. Christian and Humanist Foundations for Statistical Inference. Resource Publications, Wipf & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, USA. ]
# So, combining what NB and JC just said, my book, made or built on an argument that because pistical aspect comes at the end, you know, it's the last one, therefore we can attach degrees to certainty. [zca8]
# We can measure certainty in terms of numbers. And of course the traditional statistical way of doing that is with probabilities ranging from zero to one, or 100%.
# So, one of my ongoing questions is whether that too is reductionistic. [zca9]
# And that's why I'm specially interested in what JC was alluding to with trying to put everything on the ground (I think those were your words). Does that dispense with the need of putting numbers to degrees of certainty?
# JC: Absolutely not. It does help inform probability [but] Absolutely not. [zcb0]
# We do have to move to NB's point, without the information for making a complete decision. That's just inevitable for trying to understand God's emerging world and our place within it. Our act of living place within it, our act of living community within it. And it's an act of living community itself that we are outside of. [zcb1] ***
# So there's always going to be a degree of unknown, and unknown unknowns. I'm not worried about the unknown unknowns. I'm directly rejecting the fear of the unknown unknowns, but moving in with the idea of "OK where are the known unknowns? Where is there not light and grace, and appropriateness and justice applied to certain measure?" And move - then not knowingly move into that place appropriately. That's more where I'm thinking. [zcb2] ***
# AH: How long do the sessions usually last? # AB: Hour and a half. Gives us time to wander around and thrash things out. # NB: It's what we do. [laughter] # I find it very helpful.
# AH: Since we're going for another half hour, [I would like] to connect and further express my concern with not being clear on the idea of bringing things down to the ground. If I can continue with that analogous speaking. [zcb3]
# [Useful summary of statistical approach to uncertainty.] Statisticians also assume that degrees of certainty, probabilities it you will, are to behave according to quantitative laws. So using set theory and Bayes theorem and definition of conditional probability, we can specify how much degrees of certainty should change due to seeing such and such data. So at the beginning of an experiment, I could say that I'm 70% sure that the proportion of people getting a certain cancer is about 1%. Then after we collect data during an experiment, then that number might reduce only to 67% from 70%. So we depend on the measurability and the quantitative nature of probabilities to say that those certainties should change in such and such a way. That's very foundational to just about everything we do in the statistical realm.
# NB: Conditional probability: Is it the case that that's more appropriate in some aspects than in others? That, yknow, a 70% certainty level that this piece of art is beautiful doesn't make sense in the aesthetic aspect in the same way 70% certainty that this population will get cancer is very much sensible. So I / Do the set of laws of laws of probability and statistics change as you look at different aspects?
[AB: Why the difference? Is it about different aspects? Or is it because one is about a single piece of art while the other is about a lot of people? Or is it because one is a measure of a property and the other is a count of events (getting-cancer)?]
# AH: I certainly see the problem. But I don't have a solution. [laughter]
[AB: Thought: We have had questions about (a) dealing with uncertainty, (b) assigning numerical measurement to certainty, (c) "on the ground" (which I link to everyday life in all its aspects), (d) measuring different aspects, (e) difference between a quantity (or maybe quality) and our degree of certainty about that quantity.
I wonder if these all may be understood using Dooyeweerd's 1st transcendental question above. It is about abstracting away from everyday experience to focus on one aspect, which we can then transduce into the quantitative aspect, so that we can think using the laws of the quantitative aspect. We can transduce to quantitative amounts in one of two ways. (a) measuring, e.g. weight or size or temperature or other, especially physical, property, (b) with statistics by counting instances. Those seem different. But both involve uncertainty, whether (a) errors in measuring, (b) errors in counting or especially in obtaining a representative sample and one of sufficient quantity. Those might be the known unknowns. Known unknowns might also be knowing which aspects we have omitted and how they might impact of what we are trying to measure or count. However unknown unknowns might be seen as there being aspects that we have simply overlooked or taken for granted. Then the issue of different aspects. Again, does this differ according to whether we are (a) measuring or (b) counting? (a) How we measure a property will indeed depend on the aspect that makes that property meaningful (whether physical or aesthetic, for example). (b) But counting events or things might not depend on aspects in the same way; what might differ according to aspect is how we identify the things to count (analytical functioning targeting the aspect of interest). For example, counting physical events (e.g. in quantum experiments) depends on detector technology and observer attentiveness, while judging aesthetic beauty depends on e.g. social construction of what is deemed beautiful, and maybe the psychological state of the judge.
Question: what has been omitted from that account? ]
# [some blether]
# AB: The key advances that I see that we've made is I think three [four!] overall ones, that I've tried to express this in the Christian Rethink' thing.
# I think that's something we could still explore. I've got the idea of - yknow, the idea that we / What do we mean by that is that:
# Sin / Most of humanistic ideas doesn't like the idea of sin, it likes the idea of "Something's gone wrong." It often implicitly has the idea of sin, in terms of trying to blame somebody [AB: maybe also a rudimentary idea of sin in the idea of something-gone-wrong?]. But it tries to rectify things, and I remember once preaching on Psalm 51, and the response to sin was not to ignore it, not to resist it or reject it, not even to try to facilitate some reparations (though those are very important), which is what I think David tried to do as well, but to repent of it, acknowledge it and repent of it, and then take reparational action. So that's the idea of sin. [zcb8]
# And repentance. And I think that would help economics. [zcb9]
[AB: What AB was getting at, I think, is that sin and repentance (true contrition) says "I was wrong; I open myself up to all that is rightly coming to me; but I hope that others do not suffer because of what I have done. And I cast myself on the mercy of Those Above me without any conditions." That actually works, despite seeming illogical. See Talk on Psalm 54. ]
# And the idea of salvation. Very broad idea of salvation, not just souls going into heaven, but God working with us here and now, so that "the Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of" [Romans 8:19] yknow God's people, as it were, to bring blessing to the world. [zcc0]
# And that there is some idea in salvaton there that can give hope. [zcc1]
# So that's what I see, [that] our discussions have brought up.
# A lot of it is the first one, which is the widemings.
# [AB: See also below, where the widenings are repeated but with extra material.]
# The way I see us widening, at the moment, though I'm starting to question this [is that]: [zcc2]
# OK, so there's what I see as the key advances.
# At one level it's:  widening,  systmatizing [the widening] using Dooyeweerd, and  enriching using Christian perspctives. [zcc3]
# And widening, there are five that I can see so far. [zcc4]
# What I'm doing at the moment, is I'm trying to see recent thinkers in those terms, and which ones to focus on in the widening. [zcc5]
# And that helps me think, "Are there any other widenings that we need to do?" [zcc6]
# AH: AB, I love those. That's a lot to take in for me, so I'm glad to be more aware of your contributions recently.
# AH: want to circle back to a few emails you and I had shared, trying to make the Rethink paper on the internet [Beginning to Rethink the Economy, a draft that attempted to bring some of those key advances together] more appealing, and digestible for non-experts, the person who has little or no background in the WdW. [zcc7] ***
# One thing I should have stressed more, was how it's diffcult for the non-expert, or the non-scientist, to appreciate how scientists can wrap themselves up in their own way of thinking, their own terminology, their own jargon, their own ways of measuring and reasoning. [zcc8]
# I think that immediately after presenting a type of scenario I tried to describe, we need to talk about how scientists can be so specialised that they lose touch with the other aspects.
# ??? have a specific narrative on how to explain that. Although Dooyeweerd in his Roots of Western Culture did have a couple of instances of that. And of course we could build our own as well. [zcc9]
# I think that that has definitely affected my discipline of statistics, where we do our analyses without regard for what are the important questions of the other sciences that we contribute to. [zcd0]
# JC: That's a common refrain in almost all university life nowadays - what you've just said, AH, good work. # AH: The out-of-touch of statistics. # JC: Not just out touch, the hyper specialisation of the departmental cash flows and departmental research focus, and therefore training within the departmental subjects, meaning students.
[AB: Dooyeweerd theorized that this is a result of theoretical thought always focusing on one aspect. ]
# NB: The interdisciplinarity of our gatherings have been one of the very fun things about it to me. # JC: Totally.
# NB: The word that comes to my mind when I listen to all of us summarising the key advances made, but particularly when AB does. The word is "audacity". [zcd1] ***
# And I mean that both in the sense of caution, but also very much in a sense of cheering us on. [zcd2]
# Our project here is audacious, because we are non-expert economists, trying to make a meaningful contribution to economics. And so, to recognise that that is audacious, and we make a probably are accidentally reinventing the wheel, or yknow saying things that others have said and we just don't know that they've been said already, we should go in with an appropriate amount of epistemological humility. [zcd3]
# But we can also hold our head high and say "Hey, we have got this Dooyeweerdian framework that we really think would be helpful to you." And try to work that out what it looks like to widen economics with Dooyeweerd, recognising that economists are going to pull up their nose at some areas and say "Well I see where you're going but you're not going near[ly] far enough in other areas." [zcd4]
# Let us be audacious.
# JC: Very well said NB.
[See also below, CA's similar comment. CA does have expertise in the area and made the same point, that we non-experts can still make a contribution, because we all exist and live with, and hence experience, economics.] [zcd5]
# JC: On that point, NB - so a little bit behind the scenes for me.
[AB: In the following, some bits removed, which are just 'banter' or are personal details, etc.]
# JC: 8 to 9 years ago, my wife asked me, "If you could do anything, what would it be?" I said "Start a Dooyeweerd insitute for redemptive (and I said) medicine." [zcd6] ***
# I did not know that that meant, but it was deep in my heart.
# Forward 9 years. All way through this project, all the things that have been growing, to the point of NB's seeing the interdisciplinarity and AB's very concise statement of the widening but also assimilating responsibility. It's precisely the widening of what we are trying to find redemption for. And it's this path that we're walking, that economics is just one lens of the application of our work. [zcd7]
# And, frankly, even in this discussion, I've had further reflections: this still goes into this idea that I'd like to continue our work in a centralized manner - and I don't mean a power structure, I mean a manner in which we are open to very complex problems that require a different lens. [zcd8]
# And the idea still is a Dooyeweerd Institute for Redemptive - what I'll say out of this discussion is - Redemptive Measures. [zcd9] ***
# And why I say "Measures" is because by widening the understanding of what things should be measured, we can actually provide better recommendations, more godly, and more redemptive recommendations that can then be the masures of success for actual activity. [zce0]
# And so, it's dual lens idea of the term of measures, but it's also something that I just want to speak out there, and say "This is something that I've had no logical framework to why it's been on my heart, but this project over the last 8 or 9 months has clearly showed at least me personally, the light that all of us could bring."
# Nothing could come of this unpaid labor thing, but there was someone in the UN [SNA 2025] that said "Hey, AB, you know something about this" and AB said, "Hey, we can all talk into this." [zce1]
# None of us are experts to the point. There will be more complex problems that could be brought to us, and we could address them. But it's through "redemptive measures". And that's through the thoughts that I want to share with you, it's the project I'd like to pursue. [zce2]
# JC: AB, is that a sufficient explanation of what you and I want to chat about? # AB: It is for me, but what about the others? A "Dooyeweerd Institute for Redemptive Measures"?
[AB: Comment: I wonder whether "Measures" is the right thing to focus on, nor even whether "Dooyeweerd Institute for Redemptive" is the best name, but that can be discussed later, once there are clearer ideas]
# NB: The word "measure" there can have a dual meaning, because measure can be a measurement, or can be an action that you take - take measures. Do you mean one or the other, or is the duality there intentional? # JC: It's intentional, but I cannot say that I thought of this. This is just something out of the even this discussion. What I've been hinting at all these years, there's something about widening, and then recommending, and so we have to measure things differently, so there's that duality of "We measure - like statistically understand things clear with more aspectual influence." [zce3]
# And then we recommend measures for implementation, for a new way of solution. And so it's an intentional duality. [zce4]
# chat: [actually came a little above] 01:23:59 AH: I regret that I must attend another meeting now.
# chat: 01:24:15 AH: nice to speak with all of you.
[--- AH left.]
# NB: Can you say the name again, "institute for Dooyeweerdian ..." # JC: "Dooyeweerd Institute for Redemptive Measures" maybe. # NB: I'm thinking of the acronym. [laughter]
# JC: This is for all of this, and for all of us - this inkling that somewhat seems to be continued to be flamed and fanned by / There's something here. I want to do what I can to continue to move it audaciously forward. And branding isn't important. It is in some ways, but it's just to make ourselves open and available to issues that really weigh on people's hearts and hurt things. Hurt our beautiful planet, hurt our brothers and sisters. There's so much pain and hurt - that allowing God to work through all of us in our own ways, it would be great to bring different light, kind of an act of worship. A new way of church, in a way. That's kind of heart I want to communicate. [zce5] ***
# NB: That's very interesting.
# AB: Well. I'm happy to draw things to a close around here. Anything anyone wants to say? TB, you've been listening to especially the three Americans - what do you make of what they've been saying. # TB: Well, nothing against them :-) [laughter]. # AB: Late book; King George III was not such a baddy!
# AB: JC, do you think you could work on this, this audacious Dooyeweerd Institute for Redemptive Measures DIRM? # JC: yes.
# JC: I'm willing to move anything forward. And to continue to refine / NB and TB (I've shared this with AB), there is a group of people called Research Triangle Institute (RTI), a rather large, internationally known giant group of people that do really difficult research for statistics. And are paid huge government contracts. It's because they bring a different lens. It's right here down the road from where I live. I know one of vice presidents of one of the areas. And this is, yes, one of those "Well I know a guy" and I know the history of it. But I give that as a pointer. They are a group of very intelligent, interdisciplinary statisticians and other sorts of MPAs, public health and all these other things, that provide a very humanistic solutions to very difficult problems. [zce6]
# And I'm kind of tired of Christ being not the centre of our lives for people. Christ doesn't need to the centre of a church or crucifix or something like that, but just walking with humility, waking directly into difficult issues, and saying [zce7] ***
"Have you looked at it this way? Have you applied this thing this way?." Or "Let's look at these things from this lens. And with these our measures here, here, here."
# And I would walk by faith. we would walk by faith. And AB put something great in an email, he said "We'll see what God puts in our lap." And then we'll see what happens, and we'll see what God puts in our lap further. And I'm open to that direction. [zce8]
# But yes I can write up some things and obviously elicit all of the feedback and interest and understanding and direction from everybody.
[ACTION: JC to work this out more.]
# AB: Does anyone get an idea of what to discuss next time. I'm suggesting we have it not in 3 weeks but in a month.
# Although Vinoth Ramachandra is speaking in about a month, isn't he TB? # TB: No, next week. # AB: UK Christian Academic Network is having an interview with Vinoth Ramachandra. We'll be looking at one of his videos and we'll be having a zoom link with it. Would either of you two like to join? I should think it might be in the middle of the night for you. # TB: ... Of course, the US is behind us, and it's in the morning. # NB: If you do something in the morning, its really early in the morning for us! # TB: Yes, it's in the morning in the US, it's 3 o'clock pm our time. # JC: Yes, send over the link please. # TB: I'll put the link in the chat now.
# 01:32:31 TB: Here's the link in case interested: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/engaging-the-university-how-can-church-and-academia-come-together-tickets-170700769597
# NB: Our normal Friday at 4 UK time does not usually work for me. I teach class as 10 o'clock Central Time and I'm teaching class again at noon. Today I had to be on a reading break, so it worked for me.
# AB: That's why I / That's what I'm thinking, because CA now has something on at this time, I think, and others might do as well.
# So, NB, what times would work for you? # NB: On a Friday I'm free any time after 1 pm US [Central?] Time, which is going to after 7 pm UK time. So that's starting to get pretty late for you guys. Then, before 1 [pm] I have only one-hour blocks rather than - I could make that work, yknow, from 9-10 Central Time or from 11-12 Central Time, which would be 3-4 UK time or 5-6 UK time.
# NB: I'm available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Just for an hour.
# NB: Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm actually more available
# AB: I'm wondering about a Thursday, because /
# AB: Oh, CA's just come on. # TB: We were just talking about you :-) [laughter] # NB: Look, she's at a castle! # JC: I'm not saying "Bye" because CA came on; I'm saying "Bye" because I gotta run; I apologise. # NB: Good to see you JC, have a good day. # JC: Thank you for everything; look forward to seeing you all again.
# chat: 01:33:05 CA: hello everyone
# chat: 01:33:13 CA: it looks like I cant hear nayone
# chat: 01:33:15 CA: anyone
# chat: 01:33:21 CA: i will come back
# NB: Unfotunately, I also have to run. I promised my kids I would go hiking with them.
# AB: So, anyway, Tuesday and Thursdays are OK for you [NB]? # NB: Yes, particularly Thursdays. So generally, /
# AB: TB, what days are good for you? # TB: Usually Fridays, except there will be a 3-week period where I am doing lab in the afternoon. So, that will only be / # AB: Fridays are better for you, are they? # TB: In four weeks' time they will be tight, but otherwise. # AB: What about Thursdays: any good? # TB: Yes, it depends on the week, but yes, mostly.
# AB: Anything is OK for me since I am retired.
# NB: Closed in prayer.
# TB: Wait for CA chance to connect again.
# AB: ... We need to pray for the early career academics.
# TB: One or two of them that I know about out there. Are there more out there that do exist. Was arranging with TWUK for Tim Vickers to come and speak at leaders of Christian professional sector groups.
# AB: I'll stop the recording, by the way [because we were discussing things not for RLDG].
[--- The following is not on the recording, but was taken by AB as notes. Will be kept here as notes, not filled-out.]
# TB: graduate 'What next'
# UCCF booklet 'Transition'.
# UCCF leaders network.
# Targeting the more challenging disciplines, e.g. media, health, science
# help students
# CA: OWL [software used]
# Covid CO2 monitors
[Once CA joined us I started up recording again.]
# CA: If NB says "We are not the experts" and we are just like throwing some stones everywhere and see whether we hit the jackpot or not, I think that is so untrue. We all are living in this economy. We are experiencing situations and problems and this needs brought to light. Now, we don't have to be economists to know that there is problems. [zce9]
# We all can / We are going through the economy and we know what the problem is. The tax is too high for us. There are too many police and there [is] still a lot of crime. These things we know.
# We should stop thinking that we don't have the answers.
# Because what we are trying to do, is we are trying to bring out, "what are the problems that we have?" And then we are going to find a way to say, "Lets look. Let's see how we solve these problems." [zcf0]
[In what follows, "..." indicates words not trascribed because they repeat etc. - though retained repetition where it gives useful emphasis.]
# So let's look at an example: ... Scandinavian countries: We say that they are recycling, they are making sure that they are not having too many things (they talk about minimalism), ... they talk about environment and all of these things. So let's look into their lifestyle, and what you realise is they pay a lot of tax. But when you listen to what they say, they say "I'm happy to pay a higher tax as long I'm / There is less pollution (because everybody's on their bike) ..., and the quality of my life is better. Maybe I don't work every day; I just work three or four days in the week. The quality of life is improving. I have fresh water to drink. I have a job to go to." [zcf1]
# Yknow, if I am happy with the quality of my life, even there an improvement, come back to saying "I don't have a place to live, and I have to live in my car, or live in a caravan. This is basically what's heppening in the US. People are at work but they don't have a proper house to live, because they are in that list of waiting for like a council house .... But the list is so long, they're just waiting around. ... they live in a car, they eat at McDonalds becausethey cannot cook in their car, and they live in caravan parks / [zcf2]
[AB: Those examples seem to be the "social floor" of Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics. ]
# We've seen this, we know this, we know there's a problem. So we are trying to say is that "We don't need to be expert to see these problems."
[AB: However, Is it one thing to see there is a problem, but another thing to understand its nature, its causes, how it operates? ]
# And also we are coming from multi dimensional / We are coming from different subject groups. So we have different ideas, different ways to solve the problems. So we can actually come up with something unique. This is how I feel. [zcf3] ***
# So if you ask me to use my brain to think, I might not go so far, but because we come from multi dimensions, we look at things from a different dimension. We can get the answer. We just have to believe in ourselves, and not think that we cannot do it. [zcf4]
# AB: OK, [checking] so what you saying it, "Don't be too scared" / I'm very aware that you are an expert on finance and banking and these sort of things. And so I tend to emphasise my lack of expertise. ... Are you saying "Don't be too worried about thinking we've got lack of expertise; we have something to say"? [zcf5]
# CA: Yes. Yes. Number one, all of us are living in this economy; we know what is the problem. So we can come up with some things, whatever it is, We can put it together, and then come up with something. Because we all look at things from a different dimension, based on our different way of thinking, way of looking at things. More eyes looking at the same thing. And thinking in different dimensions, putting all these ideas together. [zcf6]
# So we can come up with something. Yknow, the more we are getting afraid, the more we are telling ourself that we are not good enough, yknow, we are going to continue not being good enough.
# AB: I think actually NB was saying the same thing. He prefaced it by saying "We are not experts" but I think he was almost saying that, because we are not all trained economists and so on, and we can see it from different dimensions, I think he's possibly saying the same thing, actually. [He said] "We can be audacious." Audacious, i.e. courageous.
# CA: So that's good if that is what he was trying to say. That's great.
# CA: Listening to that first lecture, NB was talking about scarcity. Then there was this person from the Netherlands; he was saying "No, we need to rethink it." I didn't understand that. He has a point about scarcity, because that's the first thing we teach in class: scarcity, we have limited resources around us. And we have to be careful how we use our resources, because they will go extinct at some point, and then what are we going to do! So let's be careful with the resources that we have. Not exploit the resources that we have, like environment and all of this. [zcf7]
[AB: But, does that imply that when a resource is not scarce economics has nothing to say? Dooyeweerd suggests that frugality is actually a norm that applies always rather than only in scarcity. Needs thinking about.]
# And there's a new movie coming out with Kate Winslett and what's that guy? Kate Winslett with one guy in Titanic. # TB Leonardo di Caprio. # CA: Yes, both of them. They are coming with something about the environment. It's like a movie saying "Look the environment is getting demolished here, and we are eating our way thought what - to nothing. So, think about the environment. That's basically the message. ... People are getting more aware of the environment. [zcf8]
[AB: See below for link to it]
# AB: Lost you both for 30 seconds; would you like to repeat, please?
# CA: Both of them are coming up with a movie about the environment and how we have more poultry and animals and all of those and it's all costing environmental damage. And they're saying, because we are just thinking about consumption, we really don't care.
# Or, another thing (I forgot about this). So (cannot remember where I was reading it). There was this /
# Because IMF is talking about / I remember they were having these people who were trying to lobby to say "Let's have more meat producton; we need more meat." [zcf9]
# So people [in the film?] were saying "IMF, you need to be strong, and tell people, 'no more meat production, because it's costing environmental damage and we're moving into Net Zero 2050'." So Ion??maf shouldn't buy into that story 'The population is increasing; [so] we need more meat production, we need more animals.' [zcg0]
# This is the lobbying that is going on for IMF. People are saying, "Don't buy into that story; we have enough." [zcg1]
# AB: This was recent was it? # CA: Yes.
[AB: CA sent me the following link:
Livestock industry lobbying UN to support more meat production (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/21/livestock-industry-lobbying-un-to-support-more-meat-production). "Livestock groups have been lobbying the UN to support more meat and dairy production before a high-profile summit on food sustainability, documents reveal. ..." ]
# AB: You were saying we have something to say, then you moved on to this movie. TB, have you got anything to say on this? # TB: I've just found the trailer for it.
chat: 02:27:08 TB: https://www.livekindly.co/kate-winslet-narrates-environmental-documentary/
# TB: It is coming up in the autumn. It was in the cinema for one night in September. # AB: Why only one night? # TB: I imagine they will be streaming it rather than burning it onto DVDs, because that's not environmental. Have to link to it through Netflix or whatever.
# AB: I wonder whether all the computer power and energy that is used for streaming - is that worse than a DVD? # TB: It probably is, yes; they've got to multicast it and everything, so it probably is. It seems far more sensible to use DVDs, and the quality is far better as well.
[AB: One estimate is that digital distribution is worse than DVDs etc. if the film will be watched more than four times as many times with digital distribution than with physical media. Shortly before the paper, viewing increased 8 times than the DVD viewing in the USA. Paper: Nair A, Auerback G, Skerlos SJ. 2019. Environmental impacts of shifting from movie disc media to move streaming: Case studies and sensitivity analysis. 26th CIRP Life Cycle Enginnering (LICE) Conference. Available from ScienceDirect as pdf.
# AB: CA, I'd like to have a chat with you about the Rethink page I put up. I don't know whether you have looked at it, but I guess you haven't had time. But I'd like to know whether we are on the right lines. I do feel that we've got something, and you've confirming that, from your position of some expertise, and I'm very pleased at that - that you're sort of confirming that. So I'd like to go over it with you sometime. [zcg2]
# CA: Which one is that? So I can have a look at it. # AB: "http://christianthinking.space/economics/xn.rethink.html" which I sent round. But I can send it again if you like.
# Would you be willing to have a zoom session just you and me, or a phone session or something? # CA: Yes, but I'd have to look at it first. # AB: When would you like to do that? [Then follows a discussion between CA and AB on when to discuss. Moved to separate file.]
# I'm actually in the process of continually updating this. I've got five things to widen, and I'm going to add in the idea of responsibility. Because it's got hidden a bit. [zcg3]
# I was looking at Doughnut Economics this afternoon, a bit more. And the idea of responsibility needs to be brought out more. [zcg4]
[AB: It is now in two versions.
- A proposal for widening economics built up from our discussions: "http://christianthinking.space/economics/reith2020/rldg.rethink.html"
- That being rewritten more as a general article, which brings in thinking by other thinkers too, and has more of the structure of a research paper. "http://christianthinking.space/economics/xn.rethink.html"
It is the latter that I think CA should look at. It might be publishable as papers or a small book or pamphlet. ]
# AB: And also, what I'm doing is, I'm starting a page looking at each of the recent thinkers and trying to fit them in, to say "What's their strengths? What's their weaknesses? And how do they fit in with these widenings that we're doing? [zcg5]
[AB: Link to that page: "http://christianthinking.space/economics/overview.views.html" ]
# CA: I was just - I actually remember sending you that email about one aspect of the Christian values, which is on frugality, trying to be frugal. But then when we look at the world today, there's sobeing??? of everything. Like so many different types of oils, so many different types of things. Simply because we need to have people working. [zcg6]
# Because if I'm going to be frugal, of if I'm not going to be so choosy, I'm just going to have two or three products that I like, and then if it's up to just produce two or three products, then how about employability? How are they going to get everyone employed? [zcg7]
# [Example of this tension at national level] Then countries may say "We don't have much to supply, because people are not wanting different types of oil. People don't want sesame oil; people only have like olive oil, avocado oil and maybe we can say sunflower oil." And then the other countries say, "We cannot supply any other oil, hempseed oil, on oil or whatever" because people are not interested. So, what is: these values are going to / that friction between the values that we have and how is that going to help with the employability issue? [zcg8]
# AB: Could you resend the email, if you still have it ...
# CA: I thought you were going to have a Reith Lecture [discussion] at that time, but I couldn't come, but this is what I was thinking, so I wrote it down and sent it to you ... to look at.
# Because we are now bringing down our option to just one or two, because we don't want to be greedy, and all of that, but how is that helping other people? Narrowing down the option. How is that helping people to get a job, if everything's narrowed down?
[AB: Is not the number of jobs proportional to the volume to goods shifted rather than their variety? If we narrow down to three oils, then do those three not increase in volume and hence jobs in those increase? And can we not be frugal at the same time as having variety? Is not frugality about volume rather than variety? However, two points made do seem valid: 1. If we consume less than will there be less employment? 2. Some countries (or maybe even firms or communities) might only be able to supply certain products and not others. ]
# AB: That is something we can discuss. Because you've mentioned this before. And I've kind of prepared a reply. But I didn't think it was quite right, so I never sent it. So maybe I'll look that out. Because it actually / If I was try to reply now, it would be long-winded.
[See also earlier plans for next meeting.]
# TB has to go. Whoof! You've been on two-and-a-half hours, haven't you! # TB: Yes I have. [laughter] # AB: You are welcome to stay, but [I might be be called for a meal]. # TB: yes, should sign off.
# AB: We'll be having another Reith Zoom in about a month's time. But we're thinking of another day, because timetables have changed. CA, what would be a good day for you? Would Thursday be better? # CA: Friday is the only day which is available for me. Because my timetable, I only have Fridays when I don't have anything happening. If you're teaching, you have to upload all your slides and everything, and that is happening all Friday morning. Friday afternoon is a good time for me. So, what is the time that everybody else is saying that they hanen't? # AB: I think it was NB who cannot do Fridays 4-5 pm but he could maybe do 3-4 pm. [Also, I think RG said he cannot do Fridays now.] # CA: Oh, I actually have consultation hours 1-3 pm. So 3-4 pm is OK, 3-4 is good.
# AB: fridays 3-4 pm.
# And then maybe we can reduce it to an hour or something, for those who / and maybe try and get everything done in an hour - though an hour a half seems to have worked quite well.
# OK, right, but it has to be Fridays for you.
# AB: Would any evenings be any good for you? # CA: What time in the evening? # AB: It doesn't have to be day time, it could be evenings. # CA: It has to be Fridays again, because I'm teaching the rest of the days.
# AB: Right, fine. I'll bear that in mind.
# AB: I'll see you (CA) on friday 12th November, but we might have a [Reith zoom] on Friday 5th.
# Unless we make that Reith one, or something.
# But I specifically get your opinion about the Christian Rethink.
# CA: What I think would really work is like this: Me looking at what is there and then putting my thoughts down, and sending it over to you, and then you looking at it, and then we have a conversation. Then it becomes more meaningful.
# AB: That sounds good. So what I'll do is ... early next week I'll send you a link to it, to say "It's ready" - because I'm going to rethink this responsibility thing. It's sort of ready now, but it's missing responsibility. [zcg9]
[AB: Actually, I found much more I wanted to change, so was not able to keep to that timing.]
# CA: So, when you say "responsibility", what [garbled].
[AB then gave a resume of what was said earlier, as follows, but which includes a little more.]
# AB: First of all, we widen economics to be multi-aspectual, instead of the economic aspect, economics as isolated and not taking things into account, we see economics as embedded in all the other aspects, and serving all the other aspects rather than the other aspects serving it. So, that's the general idea: we have to take into account / so, for example, the biotic aspect of biodiversity, or the ethical aspect of attitude in society. [zch0]
# And economic activity affects those, and also they affect economic activity. It's a two-way thing. [zch1]
# That if you like is the 'biggie'.
# The second one is that economic activity can do harm as well as good; it's not just all good. And that hits at the idea of growth. [zch2]
# AB: Oh, meal ready. I'll just finish these and then close down because the meal is ready.
# And there is also non-essentials or useless. [zch3]
# The third one is that we integrate micro, macro and global economics into one system. [zch4]
# The fourth one is that we rethink values, partly along Mark Carney's lines, but going a bit more than that, and recognising that some values cannot be properly measured. And what do we do about those? [zch5]
# And the fifth one I had was to see money differently, but I think possibly that's part of values. [zch6]
# So I was thinking of making the fifth to do with responsibility, rather than just the rational economic actor. [zch7]
# And the responsibility one is not written up yet, but soon will be I think.
# It makes sense, because I was going to /
# How does that sound? [CA nodded head]
# CA: Yes, but I cannot really see the structure and the alignment of things.
# So, in economics we also have frameworks that we work with. Like ???paston?? and all of that. That's a framework we work with as well. [zch8] ***
# AB: So, I'll get that ready and you can send it off. I want to see what you mean by a framework and so on. [zch9]
[AB: Since then AB realised that these widenings are not a framework, but rather more like a conclusion of a literature review, in which a researcher decides what needs to be done in their research in the light of what has already been said. The framework, in our case, is Dooyeweerd. On realising that, AB realised he needed to make a more radical change to the Rethink than he expected during this discussion. 23 October 2021] [zci0]
# AB: So, thank you very much. I must go now because I've been called for my meal. # TB: [Goodbye] # CA: [Goodbye].
Note: WdW is the 1930s Dutch version of Dooyeweerd's New Critique, but here AH seems to be using "WdW", pronounced on the audio "vay day vay" as in the Dutch, to denote Dooyeweerd's thought as a whole.