Towards a Rethink of Economics
- a Multi-aspectual Economics
enlivened with a Christian Perspective

Initial Fuller Version

See also initial shorter overview.

(The ideas herein are in process of being developed. As on November 2022 a complete rewrite of this is in progress, which remedies some of the flaws in this version, of both substance and style.

Until the new version is available, please read this as an initial but substantial collection of ideas that have intellectual value that have been somewhat organised around our initial 'model', en route to a more systematic one that is better grounded in extant economics thinking and practice, in Dooyeweerd's philosophy and in a Christian perspective. Thank you. )

Abstract, Version 1:

This article does three things. 1. It identifies radical changes needed in economics. 2. It proposes a philosophical framework to guide those change. 3, It discusses the contribution a Christian perspective might make.

The catalyst for this work was Mark Carney's 2020 Reith Lectures, but the work has grown to embrace other recent thinkers' ideas too, so that the changes we believe are needed are to widen the perspective economics takes in five main ways. Recent thinkers, including Carney, seems to focus on one or two of the widenings, and few tackle all five, so this article may be seen as an attempt to bring them together. The conceptual framework employed is Dooyeweerd's philosophy, and we discuss how this can enable each of the widenings to be accomplished systematically, to yield what may be a new paradigm for economics. The contribution a Christian perspective might offer is to make it compelling rather than merely academic, and open the door to actually make the changes suggested.

Abstract, Version 2:

The pandemic, the Ukraine war, the climate crisis, the coming biodiversity crisis, and the 2008 credit crisis: all these, economic theory and practice are ill-equipped to tackle. Add to this obesity and disease, mental ill-health, poverty and addiction, which are exacerbated, or even caused in large part, by our economic activity and theory, directly and indirectly.

To meet the challenges of the future, economics needs to be rethought very deeply, and in several ways. Recent thinkers have begun to recognise these challenges, but piecemeal. Few recognise all together. This article discusses five ways in which our understanding and practice of economic activity must change, drawing upon recent thinkers, but going beyond them.

It suggests a conceptual framework, with which to systematize and accomplish these changes, and a way to enrich that systematization. The conceptual framework comes from Dutch philosophy. The source of enrichment is a Christian perspective.

Intended Readership

This article is intended for anyone who is interested in economics and its impact on the rest of life - typically, those who have heard of Doughnut Economics, for example - but who might not know much about economics as a field, nor of finance, banking, etc. Experts in the field of economics, finance or banking might also find this article useful, because it might stimulate some interesting ideas. Readers should not be put off (nor on) by the mention of "Christian" perspective, because they are clearly delineated and enter the discussion in an unusual way.

To gain an overview of recent ideas and their limitations, read Section 2.
To think about how 'the economy' might be widened, read Section 3.
For a possible new paradigm in economics, read Sections 4 and 5.
For how this might embrace and enrich conventional economics, read Section 6.
To think about how a Christian perspective might contribute, read Section 7.
- Enjoy!

The scope of what is called "economics" here includes not just that which is taught as economics, but also finance, banking, and even some aspects of business and markets.

The ideas set out in this document are still being worked on.

Terms Used in This Article

"Economics": The entire discipline governed by the economic aspect of reality, in which the laws by which economic activity operates, are meaningful. It encompasses banking, finance, and some elements of business, marketing, management, though other aspects are also important in these. It also encompasses conservation. "Economics" refers to:

When we want to refer to any one of those in distinction from the others, we will try to make it clear.

"Economic activity": Includes both visible, formal economic activity of selling, purchasing, saving, bartering, paid work, etc. but also informal, less visible activities, such as unpaid household activity, giving, etc. It is recognised that in some of these, other aspects are also important, beyond the economic.

[List to be added to as need arises.]



The economies of the world were hit by the credit crisis of 2008 and the covid crisis of 2020 and will be hit by the climate crisis. That is the message that Mark Carney gave in his 2020 Reith Lectures. Once Governor of the Bank of England, he has some authority in the field, and his lectures offer a useful launch pad for rethinking economics to fit the future. Especially, he urged us to rethink what we mean by economic value and its relationship to our values as people and society. A host of other recent thinkers have likewise argued that we need to rethink economics.

For example, whereas many people value climate and environmental responsibility, and many suffer because of biodiversity loss and climate change, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) values only the amount of money that flows and values harmful activities as much as helpful ones. So GDP offers no incentive for governments or others to reduce economic activities that harm climate, biodiversity, health, justice or attitude. As many recent thinkers argue, commitment to growing GDP needs to rethought. So does much else in economic theory and practice.

Practice and theory work together. Practice is what does the actual damage or brings good. Theory writes the understanding and guidance that influences and governs practice. Practice is directly responsible for the harm or good being done; theory is indirectly responsible. So we need to rethink both.

During the 2020 Reith Lectures, a group of Christian thinkers, who call themselves the Reith Lectures Discussion Group (RLDG), began a series of discussions, which continued right through 2021. We believe that our Christian perspective allowed us to step back a bit and see things ('elephants in the room', perhaps) that many economists might not, and perhaps contribute to a rethinking of some elements of economics.

These discussions ranged widely, through both micro and macro economics, across climate change, poverty, health, society and markets, across a host of different kinds of value and whether to measure value, and through the ideas of several recent thinkers in economics. It is from the findings of these discussions that this article was originally compiled, though it has developed since then. While recognising economic theory, the discussions were open to the complexities of everyday, practical economic activity and how it relates to life as a whole. As one participant put it, "we've covered so much and we've talked about so many aspects from so many different angles."

And yet, doing business, treating things as of specific value, exchanging, giving, lending or borrowing things of value, using resources to produce more value seem universal across all cultures and times. These are the stuff of conventional economics, and contain insights that should not be lost. So this work does not reject conventional economics, but rather reconceives it within this wider picture. Nor do we accept the recent ideas unquestioningly, but we seek an approach that can accommodate both but critically. Some might suggest compromise but we reject that. Others might suggest that, as soon as we discuss recent ideas, we immediately add an "Ah but ..." from conventional economics. We do not take that approach either, because we do not want to kill off the new tender bud as soon as it pokes through the soil. Instead, we seek to understand the breadth of reality, assisted by reference to new ideas, both economic and other spheres of reality, and how they relate to each other, such that both conventional and new ideas are likely be able to be meaningful therein. Using this, we forge what might be called a paradigm for economics, and only then bring conventional economics back in.

To ground our proposed rethink in practical realities, we have engaged in a number of exercises, particularly contributing to the United Nations Statistics Department's redesigning of the System of National Accounts, SNA 2025.

In addition to sharing a Christian perspective, most of participants were familiar with the suite of aspects delineated by the Dutch philosopher, Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977), and often referred to the aspects in order to clarify issues or separate them out. It is Dooyeweerd's philosophy that has facilitated making the proposals here systematic and workable.

Some discussions of economics consider only its theory, some only its practice and some, both, but discuss theory and practice in different sections. We don't. We discuss them together within most sections and sub-sections, and give equal dignity to each. The main difference between theory and practice, in this document, is that theory tends to detach us from reality, to study one of its aspects, while practice is more intimately engaged with the entire diversity of meaningfulness that is reality.

This article has three main parts. First, Sections 2 and 3 propose that the field of economics, both theory and practice, needs to be widened in five specific ways. Section 2 briefly reviews the work of a dozen recent thinkers and introduces the widenings, while Section 3 discusses the widenings in detail. Second, a proposal is made for how these widenings might be made systematic, so that they can be given form in theory and operationalized in practice. This employs Dooyeweerd's philosophy, which is presented in Section 4, as a philosophical framework, which is applied, in Section 5, to the five widenings to develop a conceptual framework. This may be a new paradigm in economics. Section 6 illustrates how conventional economics might be reconceived. Finally, Section 7 discusses the relevance of a religious perspective (in our case, Christian) [Note: 'Christian' perspective]. Biblical quotations before then are inserted to make a point and should be taken allusively.

Though this work is still evolving, we hope this article might contribute meaningfully to current discourses in economics, finance, policy, etc. Both this article, and the RLDG discussions that it embodies, eschewed the conventional left-right split in economics and politics. They regard the right and left as two parts of a wider picture - though we do not discuss them here.

The style of this article is such that anyone might read it, so some concepts might be explained that economists might think are basic.


(If this were an academic paper, this and the next section might constitute the Literature Review. They define what the problem is and what we need to do to 'fix' it.)

This section presents a summary of the concerns that various recent thinkers have over conventional economics. Most are concerns that were raised during RLDG discussions, starting with Carney but gradually bringing in others. These concerns show why understanding of the economy and all economic activity needs widening in several ways.

2.1 Overview of Recent Ideas

See systematic Overview of Approaches to Economics, on which the following draws.

Mark Carney wants economic value, e.g. as measured by money, to more adequately reflect the values we hold as a society. In explaining why, he cites three major crises of this century: the Credit Crisis of 2008, the Covid Crisis of 2020 and the present-and-worsening Climate Crisis to argue what is wrong in economic theory and practice and why values-driven economics is necessary.

Partha Dasgupta wants to bring biodiversity into the calculations used by the UK Treasury, so that national economic policy will begin to take biodivesity into account, and no longer treat it as a free unlimited resource that may be drained.

Kate Raworth (Doughnut Economics) objects to defining economic growth as increasing GDP. She wants to keep growth below the level that does damage to the planet ("ecological ceiling") and yet wants to ensure a decent standard of living for all ("social floor"). The "21st century economist" needs to "think differently":

Bob Goudzwaard (Blossoming Economy) expresses a similar concern, which predated Raworth by about 20 years, and he adds a specific concern for justice, which goes deeper than Raworth's "Design to distribute". He used the more dynamic metaphor of a tree growing. When small, it grows, and should grow, but when mature, it stops growing and devotes its energy to blossoming and bearing fruit. Economies of the affluent nations should do likewise.

Tim Jackson's Prosperity without Growth is also concerned about economic growth. He argues that real prosperity is possible without it.

The Manchester Collective (Foundational Economics) is concerned that nearly half of all goods and services, and the labour paid to produce them, are ignored and their value is not appreciated. Such "mundane" economic activity provides a foundation that should be given more respect and attention.

Andrew Hartropp (God's Good Economy) is concerned with injustices that can result from economic activity, especially poverty.

The United Nations Statistics Department is undertaking an exercise to bring several things into the system for national accounting (SNA) that are important in our lives, but which are not currently accounted for. These include unpaid household activity, other elements of wellbeing, sustainability, globalization and digitalization. They In this document we call it SNA 2025.

Oloi Laurent (New Environmental Economics) expresses a similar concern about injustice / poverty, but also about damage to the biosphere resulting from economic activity. He wants economics to accommodate both justice and sustainability.

Systems thinkers like Kenneth Boulding argue for a Circular Economy of recycle-make-use-reuse-remake-recycle, in contrast to the conventional linear economy of take-make-use-dispose-pollute. It is motivated by a concern that we cannot just plunder natural resources, but instead must recycle and reuse, so that we minimize demand for non-renewable resources.

Table 2.1 summarises what interests each thinker and what gaps they leave. In each column, items to the left indicate what their explicit concerns, items to the right indicate implicit concerns. Bold text indicates their main concern.

Table 2.1. What each recent thinker focuses on
(draft, incomplete, still being developed: given here to illustrate. See Overview of Recent Ideas for more.)

What each thinker focuses on

(Click on table image to see it full size.)

2.2 Some Problems in Recent Ideas

These are all insights about the way forward, and all are very welcome, but there are several challenges. One is that each thinker focuses on one problem or range of problems like the blind devotion to economic growth, damage to the natural environment, climate change, poverty or injustice for the poor, that economics and finance fail to express and increase what is truly of value. Solving one (if that is possible) might not solve the others - even though they are linked, as poverty and environmental damage are. So we need a basis on which to bring them together and address all. Is there a single approach that can do justice to all, and to other problems yet to be identified?

A second challenge is that most of these ideas arise as a response to the past and cannot anticipate future problems. Take the example of Circular Economy. It was motivated by waste, and by the obvious logic of recycling, but it is not sufficient on its own to address directly the problems or climate change or pandemic, which, at the time it was devised, were largely theoretical problems. Though a Circular Economy would indeed contribute towards reducing climate change, something different is needed. Take the example of environmental problems. At the time they came to notice, the links with poverty were not understood, so solutions were proposed that, some claimed, would increase poverty. Responding to the past has its uses, but we need a way to go beyond reaction to understand wider responsibility.

A third challenge, linked to those two, is: How may we know know whether there are more issues, currently unrecognised, even hidden? There is little value in solving the above if other, hidden problems undermine our efforts. We need a basis on which to seek for, recognise and judge recognised and unrecognised problems together.

Do some underlying problems lie at the roots of all the visible problems, such that the visible problems cannot be properly solved without attending to them? Below, we suggest that attitude might be such a root.

A fourth challenge is that some of these thinkers try to couch their concerns, and especially their solutions, purely or largely in economic concepts. For example, Raworth's primary idea is the quantitative-economic one of keeping between two numbers, a minimum economy that supports a "social floor" and a maximum that represents the "ecological ceiling." Dasgupta and SNA 2025 both try to express their concerns in purely financial terms. Perhaps this is not suprising, since they are writing for government treasury departments. More generally, the wider concerns have to be expressed in ways that are meaningful to economics or the impact of economic activity on other aspects cannot be properly investigated or governed. So, we need a way to express such concerns from other aspects in concepts and language that are meaningful to economics but not reduced to economic concepts. Widening our view of value and its measurement, discussed in Section §3.2 below, will help.

Instead of seeking to counter or rectify problems discussed above directly, we treat them as visible symptoms of deeper malaise. We seek to understand insights about the economic aspect of reality and its relationship with other aspects (such as the biotic in the case of biodiversity), wherever they may be found, both in these recent thinkers and in conventional economics of both left and right. It has been suggested by members of the RLDG that Adam Smith's writings contain insights that have been ignored in bring about the parlous situation we have today. That is the way the RLDG treated them, taking them into account and yet going deeper.

We try to avoid taking sides, whether left versus right, or recent versus conventional. Nor do we seek 'balance', nor compromise. Rather, we seek foundational understanding, both of the nature of economics itself, and the ways it can go wrong. We do not accept without question the standard answers to these, but employ philosophy, because philosophy is the "Discipline of Disciplines" [Strauss 2009].

However, we treat conventional thought and recent thought somewhat differently. Because conventional ideas have been worked out much more elaborately, they have more layers of problematic accretion from society's presuppositions, attitudes, aspirations and expectations, so there is more to cut away - to criticise - in conventional economics before the valuable insights can be reached. That is why, in this article, there might appear to be more criticism of conventional economics (of both left and right) and more acceptance of recent thinkers.

We regard recent thinkers as drawing attention to issues that conventional economics has overlooked. Each of those thinkers suggests that economics needs to be widened in certain ways, to take account of things it currently does not - climate change, biodiversity, justice, human living, health, the mundane, values and even religion and theology. However, since much recent thinking has arisen by reaction, we are by no means uncritical thereof. This is why their limitations have been discussed above, and will be mentioned below.

We seek to widen rather than react. The approach here is to identify ways in which economics needs to widen, and situating the above problems, suggestions and insights within that, and, later, to suggest a systematic way of achieving the widening.

2.3 Widening

RLDG discussions included the issues these thinkers discuss - climate and environmental responsibility was frequently mentioned, along with poverty, and the way the markets operate. Yet other issues were also mentioned, and we might expect further issues to arise in future. So, while specific issues are mentioned here, the approach we take is to generalise beyond them, in a way that can allow for issues whose importance is not yet recognised.

The RLDG discussions saw the following types of widening as needed, each indicating a particular kind of economics, and all to be brought together at the end.

Those are elaborated below. Other widenings might emerge as we proceed.

Those five set a direction for rethinking economics, but it does not indicate how to go in that direction. To do this, to make this workable, so that people can actually carry this out, we need a systematic understanding of the embeddedness of economics, of harm and good, of all levels, of value measurement and of responsibility.

We could just try to address the issues discussed by recent thinkers directly, but that would not work well, for two reasons. One is that bolting disparate concerns together rarely finds integration. The other is that we want a basis to respond to issues that have not yet widely been made matters of concern. So, instead, we seek a paradigm or perspective for economics that naturally leads us to embrace the insights in recent thinking, and is likely to be able to accommodate concerns yet to arise.

2.4 Systematizing

We need a systematic way to achieve these desiderata. Where can we find one?

The RLDG first looked at 'Christian Values' as a foundation for the widening, but found them insufficient on their own. For example, when considering debt, how does one balance the Christian value of grace with justice, or even the 'realities' of economic life? In fact, values alone do not offer an understanding of the specific nature, role and mandate of economics, as distinct from other aspects of life, nor of the concepts that are meaningful therein, like markets. Values provide norms to guide these, but offer little critical challenge to rethinking them.

Instead, Dooyeweerd's philosophy was continually referred to, especially his idea of aspects. This occurred whatever topic was being discussed, which suggests that it might apply across them all. As a result, and based on the discussions, we explore here the potential of Dooyeweerd's aspects to offer a philosophical foundation with which to achieve each of the widenings. By being able to use the same philosophical foundation for all, it may be this offers a basis for achieving them all together (our sixth desideratum).

2.5 Enriching

The main benefit of a Christian perspective was found to be to enrich the systematic understanding developed using Dooyeweerd, and make it more compelling. Systematic frameworks can be rather monotonous and, though they offer understanding, they do not compel adoption. Frequently, they are theoretical and have difficulty engaging with the practicalities of what goes on at all levels. In Section 7, we discuss three main contributions a Christian perspective might make to economics. 1. 'Christian values' like love, joy, peace, bring 'life' to the dullness of a theoretical framework, and compel us. 2. The Judeo-Christian notion of sin and repentance offers an extra way to understand what is going wrong and how to rectify that. 3. The Christian idea of salvation or redemption offers hope that rectification is possible - especially for problems like climate change.

With widening, systematic working-out and enriching, we can engage with both conventional economics and recent thinkers. We adopt the LACE approach, to listen to both, affirm and critique them, and enrich the entire field of economics. The next section discusses the five ways in which economics needs to be widened.


Here is a brief explanation of the five widenings above, with reference to recent thinkers and RLDG discussions. These suggestions will be drawn together at the end. They contain insights not only from the field of economics as traditionally understood, but also from those of business, finance, banking, and fields like ethics and sustainability.

3.1 From Detached Economics to Multi-Aspect Embedded Economics

Not yet checked 10 February 2022. Maybe rid presentism 10 April 2022. w=5100. 24 February 2022 w=6916

This section is concerned with how the field of economics (theory and practice) sees itself and how it should see itself. It is about what the field of economics presupposes as meaningful and important, and what it overlooks. It concerns what might be called the mandate of economics: the good it can (and should aim to) achieve among all the other spheres of life.

Is economics all-important, or is there something more important than economics, which economics should serve? The answer we hold to that question is a matter of attitude and beliefs, of mindset and perspective, of self-understanding and identity, of the meaningfulness of the field of economics as a whole.

It is often at variance with what we purport to hold and express in our statements. The attitude and beliefs that have governed conventional economics are problematic in three ways: reductionism, presentism, and hubris, resulting in economics elevating itself above other spheres and detaching itself from them. We suggest that economics needs to see itself as embedded among other spheres of life. This provides the foundation for the other sections.

3.1.1 Detached Economics

In the culture that dominates the world, economics is elevated above other spheres of life. Economic growth is treated as sacrosanct, an idol to which much else in a nation's life may be sacrificed - especially, over recent decades, the natural environment and the Earth?

This commitment to economic growth - a concern of Jackson, Goudzwaard and Raworth - is driven by several factors. Some drivers are fiscal in nature. For example, if market interest rates exceed inflation rates then wealth flows from borrowers to lenders, exacerbating financial inequalities, and risking social disorder. There are three options - to allow this to happen, to instal effective mechanisms (e.g. taxes) to flow wealth from the rich to the poor, or to encourage economic growth. Economic growth acts as a panacea because most people believe they are a little better off each year - and most governments choose this.

A different kind of driver is aspiration and attitude. Nations and businesses pride themselves, and compete, on their economic growth figures. Shrinking or non-growing economies or businesses are despised and treated as anathema. Other measures of real quality and worth, such as happiness (Bhutan) or responsibility (Scandinavian countries) are ignored. This commitment to growth is made worse by measuring it in a single quantity, GDP for nations, "the bottom line" for businesses (a concern of Raworth and Carney).

At the individual level we see a similar elevation of the economic above other factors. For example, houses are treated, not as homes, but as investments. University students are called "customers" and, in senior management planning, treated primarily as sources of money and only secondarily as human beings.

In all this, many, and many kinds of, issues are ignored - as "externalities", those repercussions and activities that are deemed to be not meaningful in economic equations. For example:

They may be harmful - such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, physical illness, mental stress, family breakdown, social disharmony, crime, and even meaninglessness leading to more suicides among the young - or good externalities, but they are ignored.

In all such ways, and more, economics has effectively detached itself from other spheres of life in both its practice and theory.

Ignoring externalities is deeply problematic. It means that both the harm done by economic activity and the potential good are alike ignored in accounting, analysis, planning and policy-making. Many are concerned that things like climate change or increase in mental stress resulting from economic activity are ignored. Others point out that most economists did not see the credit crisis coming. Decisions might be awry, for example economic sanctions might be less successful than Western leaders hope [Escriba-Folch & Wright 2010] because other leaders treat different things as important.

This is a concern that motivates the SNA 2025 exercise, which is trying to bring wellbeing and sustainability, digitalization and globalisation into systems of national accounting. What is worse, ignoring externalities exerts pressure in the wrong direction, allowing, excusing and encouraging harmful activities that, by rights, should be discouraged. Yet most economics theory has unquestioningly acquiesced to that state of affairs by largely excluding such externalities from its equations and theories.

Both market and Marxist economics are at fault here. The assumption that the market will "take care of it" is a lie [Carney 2021]. Marx treated the economy as the "substructure" of society and all else is "superstructure", whose sole purpose is to protect economics. All purpose and meaning is reduced to economics.

Do not the diverse realities of pandemic, war and climate and biodiversity crises show this to be false? In each one, something other than economics is more important, but these affect, and are affected by, economic activity at all levels.

With many recent thinkers, we reject economic growth as the overriding norm and aim by which all else is evaluated and governed. We reject seeing houses primarily as investments. We reject calling students "customers". We reject both the idea that markets take care of things, and that the economy should be served by all other "superstructure" spheres. And so on. However, we recognise that most of these ideas contain a modicum of insight that should not be lost. Instead of either acquiescing to such ideas or rejecting them utterly, or even taking a middle course, we seek to understand what is the root of the problem and to reveal what is genuine insight.

Economics should no longer see itself elevated above, nor detached from, other spheres of life, but as embedded among them. This gives economics both theory and practice, a new mandate, which we discuss later. Before then, we examine three types of detachment, reductionistic, chronological and hubristic, and discuss what can be done to change them.

3.1.2 From Reductionism to Holism

Reductionism [Note: Reductionism] occurs when we focus on one kind of issue (or one aspect) so intensely that we ignore all other kinds. A reductionist perspective in economics treats only economic issues as important, for example treating forests as nothing but resources, and/or tries to reduce all other kinds of issues to economic ones, such as treating scenery as mere tourist attraction. Reductionism treats all other kinds of issues as mere externalities, which do not have to be thought about carefully or even named. Trying to express everything by a price is a particularly pernicious reduction, and a major concern of Carney [2021].

Obviously, economics will focus on economic issues, but reductionism occurs when it focuses only on economic issues. This is made worse when we presume there is nothing wrong in doing so, which verges on hubris, discussed below.

One example of this is that unpaid household activity has been ignored, even though family love, support and caring are vital to the wellbeing of both society and even economy, motivating governments to encourage the hospitality sector to the detriment of e.g. home cooking and fun. One contributes to 'the economy' and GDP; the other does not. At the macroeconomic level, it results in the activity and lifestyle of so-called less-developed nations, in which household activity is much more prevalent, being looked down on. Interestingly, the SNA2025 exercise aims to rectify this.

Even in recent thought we find this. For example, Mazzucato [p.6] "Also crucial is whether what it is that is being created is useful: are the produces and services being created increasing or decreasing the reslience of the productive system." Note: Not resilience of the entire Creation, or even of human living, but of the "productive system". The work of the Manchester Collective is still reductionist even though it does have real value.

Reductionism runs deep, as a mindset, and a presupposition that only certain things are meaningful. It deeply affects both theory and practice - both theory and analytical tasks like evaluation and planning and therefore, since these are prevalent in them, both theory and professional practice in economics.

The opposite of reductionism is holism. It was a concern of early systems thinkers. Boulding [1966], for example, argued against a narrow focus on profit and production for the more holistic Circular Economy, in which waste is recycled back as useful products, so non-renewable resources are less depleted. This was only a small step away from reductionis, however, since it was couched largely in economics concepts like resources, rather than in terms of for example justice or biodiversity.

Recent thinkers have explicitly tried to bring even more issues into account in economics, especially justice (e.g. Hartropp) and environmental issues (e.g. Dasgupta [2020]), and these together (e.g. Laurent). Yet even these ideas are tainted with reductionism. For example Dasgupta, probably because he is writing for the UK Treasury, tries to reduce biodiversity to a quantitative measure of value, following the Ecosystem Services approach, which reduces all ecological issues to various human needs. He also acquiesces to the idea, held by the Treasury, that the ultimate reason for bringing biodiversity into considerations is because, in the long term, it serves The Economy to do so. Laurent does not fall into such a trap, but closer examination reveals some reductionism, in that Laurent defines "justice" in terms of quantitative-economic measures. Moreover, there are other issues not addressed, like technology, language, households, fun, attitude and aspiration. These have strong impacts on both environment and justice, yet seldom enter the discourse. One exception might be the SNA 2025 exercise, which brings in a few more of these, in its concern with unpaid household work, digitalization and globalisation. Another might be Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics] calls for taking social and ecological aspects into account. Mark Carney's with values beyond economic value is even holistic, though in a rather general kind of way.

These, and others, all featured in the RLDG discussions, in which the phrase "Healthy Living Environment" was used to refer to all these together and more. Here, we will use the term, Overall Good (capitalized). Other languages have single words to express what is meant, for example Shalom, Salaam or eudaimonia, but English does not. Overall Good is broader than the term "common good" [Note: Common Good]. All these kinds of issues contribute to Overall Good together, along with others not included above. Mariana Mazzucato expresses something like it as her hope for capitalism:

"Imagine if that collaborative purpose today was to build a more inclusive and sustainable capitalism: green production and consumption, less inequality, greater personal fulfilment, resilient health care and healthy ageing, sustainable mobility and digital access for all." [Mission, 206]

The practice and theory of economics needs to become more holistic in its outlook; many agree on that. However, holism tends to be something of a slogan, either too amorphous to be of much use, or couched as very specific selected issues that a protagonist feels have been overlooked. What we need is a soundly based way by which economists can take account of the whole range of factors - especially those currently reduced as "externalities."

It will give some emphasis to environmental and justice (poverty) issues because they are currently most pressing, and also to other issues raised by recent thinkers, but it will recognise that there are others whose importance has yet to be revealed (see §3.1.3 on time.

But how? Reductionism is often hidden, so we are unaware we are being reductionist. Whenever we think about the world around us, such as in scientific research, intellectual discussions, or in professional analysis or planning, we often focus on one, two or several aspects of it, but not all. The 'lens' that enables us to focus and see those aspects more clearly, also narrows our view so that we fail to see others. As we will see in Section 4, it is inherent in analytical and theoretical thinking to overlook aspects.

There is a half-way step in embeddedness that is not yet enough. It embeds economics in human 'needs' but still largely downplays ecology and human responsibility. It may be called "justice for the poor" by those of a left-wing stance, or "stakeholder capitalism" by those of a right-wing stance, or "human flourishing" by those of Judeo-Christian stance. But it is (a) human-centred and offers no way of dealing with ecological footprint, except indirectly as that can benefit humans, (b) self-centred rather than responsibly self-giving, because it aims first to satisfy 'our' needs rather than fulfilling 'our' responsibility - though 'our' has been defined more broadly than in the past. We can welcome it as a half-way step, and applaud those who are trying to lever the current economy away from its current injustice and uncompassion. But, when crossing a river, who wants to remain on the stepping stone rather than get fully across? Economics must be fully embedded in the entirety of diversity and coherence of meaning that is Reality.

For a truly Embedded Economics, we need a way to understand and take account of all the diverse spheres of reality among which the economic sphere is embedded, whether or not society currently recognises them as important or not. Section 4 introduces such an understanding and section 5 works it out.

However, there are two other second drivers of detached economics, with which we must contend.

3.1.3 Past, Present and Future

It is well known, among both conventional and recent economists, that mere short-term, present-oriented planning and evaluation can sometimes be misleading and harmful because one or both of past and future are ignored. Like reductionism, it results in aspects of reality being overlooked. We need to take a longer-term view that takes account of past and future.

The problem in conventional economic thinking is that, too often, "long term" is defined as only a decade or so, and should be longer, and that the field of finance often tackles this via quantitative discounting rates.

Recent thought too is problematic. Though it takes a longer-term view, and eschews such quantitative discounting rates, it exhibits a different problem. Most recent ideas are reactions to the past, motivated by problems that have become apparent because of past economic activity. For example, Shumacher's classic Small is Beautiful is a response to giantism, Raworth's "ways to think like a 21st century economist" is a response to commitment to economic growth, and much environmental economics arises out of concern about environmental damage as it has become visible recently.

Much recent thought is, thus, shaped by the past even though it aims to make the future better. For example, the SNA 2025 exercise seeks to establish a system for national accounts that will be relevant for decades to come (the last one was 2008). This might work if the future were merely an extrapolation of the past, and the only problems that we will meet in the future are those we have inherited from the past. But the Covid-19 Pandemic and the possibility of wars urges us to question this. The future is likely to present problems that we currently are not fully aware of and certainly not discussing. We need a basis for coping with unforeseen future possibilities as well as the very important problems we are aware of today.

This implies that we need a paradigm based on a rich understanding of the nature of reality itself, not just of what thinkers currently happens to deem meaningful. It will encompass all the currently discussed issues, but is also more general, based on philosophy that incorporates a good ontology of reality. Dooyeweerd's philosophy, described in Section 4, is one of those.

It will include both the environmental and justice (poverty) aspects, giving some emphasis to those because they are currently most pressing, but will recognise that there are others, the importance of which has yet to be revealed. To find such a view, we will turn away from merely looking at the problems we can currently see that result from conventional economics, and turn to philosophy.

Yet there is a third kind of detachment that differs from both reductionism and presentism, which does more than just ignore issues.

3.1.4 From Hubris and Idolatry to Humility and Service

Hubris is an attitude of "overweening pride of self-confidence" [Webster]. While reductionism narrows our analysis and theory-making, hubris affects our perspective, presuppositions, expectations and aspirations. Whereas in reductionism we ignore other aspects, in hubris we disparage them, setting ourselves above them. We presume that all else is less important and less meaningful than we are, and that all else is there to serve our own interests. Whereas some confidence and dignity are good, hubris is deeply harmful.

Usually, hubris is hidden, more often felt than seen or explicitly recognised. It is usually met with either acquiescence or antagonism, in ways that distort and damage understanding and action.

Hubris and reductionism reinforce each other, in that our hubris often presupposes an aspect that makes our identity meaningful, which is treated as the only meaningful one, while reductionism usually goes beyond a mere theoretical stance to the attitude of hubris.

With the attitude of hubris, economics presupposes the absolute importance of the economy, deserving to be served by all other aspects of life - whether these be land, natural resources, technology, health or even the best waking hours of people's lives. This may be seen in Marx's belief that the purpose of the 'superstructure' of society is to serve the economy, which is its 'substructure', and equally in the belief that the market will solve all problems. This presupposition reveals itself, seemingly innocently, when those in the media, government or academia speak of "the economy" as a synonym for human life [Note: Economics as Life]. In many countries is not the Treasury treated as the most important department of government, determining what all other departments can do? Yet these are far from innocent. Our functioning in many aspects is sacrificed in the interests of a growing national economy.

Example: As far back as the 1960s, Senator Nelson recognised the need to change perspective, when he said "The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way round." Then, economics saw the environment as merely serving its own ends, e.g. as source of raw materials or opportunities, as in felling rainforest to obtain land for agricultural employment. Nelson was an early proponent of the idea that economics should serve the environment's needs.

We generalise this beyond the environment, to say that, instead of concerning itself only with its own interests and seeing other aspects of life as serving its needs, economics should sees itself as in the service of all others. Instead of being isolated from other aspects, economics should be embedded among them. Raworth does so to some extent, perhaps, in her call for the "21st century economist" to "think differently". Carney gets close, in that values are part of this attitude.

Closely allied to hubris is idolatry. Idolatry treats something as sacred, as sacrosanct, as all-important, that does not deserve to be so treated. By analogy with physical idols found in some religions, Goudzwaard [1984,p.21-22] explains, in Idols of our Time, four idols he identifies as technology, national security, revolution and economic growth. With a bit of imagination, we can see how almost every phrase of Goudzwaard's account of idolatry is true for our attitude to economic growth.

"Suppose we consider the worship of a wood, stone or porcelain image, a practice still common in the world today. This worship has several steps. First, people sever something from their immediate environment, refashion it and erect it on its own feet in a special place. Second, they ritually consecrate it and kneel before it, seeing it as a thing which has life in itself. Third, they bring sacrifices and look to the idol for advice and direction. In short, they worship it. Worship brings with it a decrease in their own power; now the god reveals how they should live and act. And fourth, they expect the god to repay their reverence, obedience and sacrifices with health, security, prosperity and happiness. They give the idol permission to demand and receive whatever it desires, even if it includes animal or human life, because they see the idol as their savior, as the one who can make life whole and bring blessing. ...

"Fear arises because gradually the roles of idol and idol worshiper are reversed. First, people make an idol. They fashion an image however they want, however, they become dependent on their own creation. No wonder: having given the creation its own life, it has a grip on them. The slightest misstep may trigger the wrath of the idol, a wrath which may even bring them to ruin. This dependence of the maker on its idol is the result of a complete role reversal. Now the idol imprints its image on on the maker, not vice versa."

We can see how dependent we have become on economic growth, and the tragic fear we - people, pundits and politians - now have of its wrath if we fail to serve it. Our idol determines how we see life, dominating both practice and theory in economics. Ingleby [2007] calls it a "Domination System" but that suggests the fault lies in 'the other', whereas the idea of idolatry locates the fault directly in ourselves as leaders in society (whether government, media, academia, business, etc.).

Idolatry may also be detected in the presupposition of the business as an entity that should survive and grow, at all costs ("sacrifice to"), an attitude that often motivates many kinds of shady and criminal dealings. [Exercise: Discuss how Goudzwaard's statements apply to business as idol.]

Non-Western leaders worship different idols, such as national security or pride (e.g. Russia, North Korea, China) - which might explain why economic sanctions often do not work.

The attitude of hubris / idolatry is a different kind of detachment from mere reductionism. While reductionism affects our analysis, theories, planning and policy, hubris / idolatry affects all else along with these. Hubris / idolatry and reductionism reinforce each other - a vicious circle. Hubris / idolatry motivates and excuses reductionism, and, once we become aware of it, makes our attempts towards holism half-hearted and partial, ensuring the idol remains protected. For example, instead of truly trying to understand how environment, justice and the economy impact each other (see on Aspects, below), many merely bolt them together, and tick the box "Holism". For example, traditional types of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are like this, in that it answered the question of what to do with our profits once we have made them. Many, e.g. Wainwright, argue it needs to be integrated, concerned with how the profits are made.

Goudzwaard's description of severing, and of erecting the idol in a special place speaks strongly of Detached Economics. Embedded Economics involves the opposite attitude of humility and service, with the field of economics, of and the economy seeing themselves as serving all other aspects of life. Humility and service reinforce each other in a virtuous cirle, and inherently require holism. Adam Smith and other early thinkers actually presupposed an embedded economy but later economics theorists and business people detached it because of their reductionism and attitude.

We will now consider reductionism and hubris / idolatry in more detail.

3.1.5 Aspects of life and their mutual interaction

The holism that is needed is one that takes account of multiple aspects of life along with the economic. But what do we mean by "aspects"? In architecture, the east and south aspects of a building are two different views of the building that cannot be deduced from each other. Here, aspects are likewise different views that cannot be deduced from each other, but the views are of reality as a whole. They are ways in which reality can be meaningful and hence viewed by us.

Examples: When we view the world in terms of energy and physical, we consider its physical aspect; when, in terms of social relationships, roles and groups, its social aspect, when, in terms of what should or should not be done, of right and wrong, justice and injustice, its juridical aspect; when, in terms of plant and animal life, species, habitats and ecosystems, its biotic aspect. And, when, in terms of resources, consumption, markets, value and money, its economic aspect.

We will work with fifteen such aspects later, described in Section 4. Each aspect lends meaningfulness to a different sphere of life and society - the economy, politics, the arts, the media, the judiciary, the religions, science, technology, and so on.

Reductionism occurs when we consider only one aspect and refuse to consider others. Holism occurs when we acknowledge many aspects (ideally all). Here we call it the multi-aspectual view.

Early calls for justice or the environment to be taken account of in economics may be seen as small steps towards holism, in which we consider one further aspect alongside the economic: the juridical and biotic aspects respectively. More recent thought, bringing both justice and environment together with economics (three aspects together), may be seen as another step. In business, this is summed up in the classic Triple Bottom Line, of People, Planet, Profits (PPP). It may be useful as a management memory aid, but it is not sufficient, because yet other aspects beyond those three remain equally important. Many of the recent thinkers may be seen as drawing our attention to some of them.

The SNA 2025 exercise may be seen as yet another step. It seeks to bring into the national accounts not only the biotic aspect (Sustainability) and the juridical aspect (part of Well-being), but also: unpaid household activity, especially volunteering and caring, digitalization and globalization (which, in Section 4, we see as the ethical, formative-technical and aesthetic aspects).

It is valid to ask, "Are there yet other aspects that also must be taken into account? For example, [Hartropp 2010] argues that achieving justice in production and distribution requires "embracing spiritual, physical and socio-economic well-being" adding three more aspects. We need a picture of as many aspects as possible, and a basis on which to identify candidate aspects.

Reductionism and holism are not equally valid. Focusing on a single aspect has a very limited validity: it is what science does when it seeks to investigate in depth the laws by which an aspect of reality operates, without becoming confused by what is meaningful in other aspects (see Section 4). But, in all the rest of life and reality, all aspects must be taken into account, because not only are all functioning together, butall aspects interact and affect each other. (For example, economic value depends on the social aspect of agreement.) Reductionism is harmful because it prevents us considering all the aspects that are relevant. This is especially so when all value is reduced to monetary price, an issue discussed in §3.2. Reductionist thinking, evaluation, planning and policy, especially when the economic aspect predominates, ignores realities that are going on in other aspects. It particularly ignores the harm and benefit that are meaningful in those other aspects, as aspects interact. This is why some blame economics for the environmental crises we face - even though somewhat unfairly.

So, even the nexus of justice, environment and economy (e.g. PPP) is still reductionist, because there are yet other aspects that are important. We must take all aspects into account, and understand their interactions.

A major branch of systems thinking claims to take an holistic view by seeing things as systems within an environment, of which they are part, and seeing the thing itself as composed of parts. The individual is within the organisation, which is within the economy, which is within society, which is within the natural environment - as an hierarchy of nested systems. But this systems view is insufficient for us. (a) There are other kinds of relationship than part-of, such as that between a city and its football team. (b) There can be reverse nesting: for example is not society within the individual? (c) It places too much emphasis on the hopeless task of defining boundaries. The aspectual approach addresses these, by (a) offering other kinds of relationship, (b) removing hierarchy, (c) allowing overlap and inter-penetration, and it gives us even more, as outlined in Section 4. Dasgupta argues from this hierarchical view, that the economy must be seen as "within" the natural environment - but what he really means is half of the two-way mutual interdependency between the economic and biotic aspects.

We are called, at the very least, to see the economic aspect as alongside other aspects, of equal importance.

However, that does not always help us to understand how to achieve what is sought. We need also to understand the interaction between the economic and all other aspects of our lives and activities. There are two directions. One is that economic activity impacts all other aspects of life - for both good and harm. On one hand, a healthy economy has reduced human hunger and is probably necessary for widespread education and much scientific endeavour. On the other, a large reason for forest destruction is because of 'economic' pressure, and some argue that economic growth has worsened human suffering.

In reverse, other aspects impact economic activity ("the economy"). On one hand, good education enhances the skills of workers. On the other, widespread health problems remove human effort from the economy for a time and environmental disasters such as floods disrupt a community's or nation's economy.

Understanding the nature and possibilities of inter-aspect impacts helps us see why it is so difficult sometimes to maintain the Overall Good we refer to above, but it also points out ways of doing so. We need a way to understand impacts between economic and other aspects, in both directions. This will be discussed in Section 3.3, Good, Harmful, Useless below).

Fulfilling these two needs mentioned above will help us towards a perspective, a self-identity, of the economy as not only alongside other spheres of life as equals, but embedded among them in mutual dynamic interaction. Only then will we achieve what many recent thinkers aim for.

However, it will not happen without a change in attitude.

3.1.6 On the hidden role of attitudes

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." [Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:21]

All three of reductionism, past-orientation and hubris/idolatry are often hidden. We function without being aware of them and so usually acquiesce to them. Ignoring aspects is one reason why they are hidden, but there is a second reason: attitudes of heart, which in fact lead to these three.

By "attitudes" we mean two things, each with positive and negative versions, each later seen as meaningful in two different aspects.

Attitudes are in our 'heart', from which comes forth all our thinking, speaking and doing. In fact, attitudes have an effect even when not hidden. Attitudes determine what we treasure. Our treasures are more visible, and give evidence of where our heart is.

Reductionism is a false belief that only certain aspects are meaningful and others are not, idolatry is an absolute commitment to something that is not absolute, and hubris is an extreme selfishness combined with worship of onself.

Both kinds of attitude - disposition and orientation - can be explicit (as in statements of Corporate Social Responsibility, and in creeds) or hidden (as in hidden agendas, and in undeclared presuppositions). They often combine, for example in hidden agendas (commitments for selfish purposes) and in fact may do so in all four combinations, of ++, +-, -+ and --. From here we simply call the combination "attitude", until Section 7, when we link it to what some call "heart".

Attitudes affect the whole of life - our behaviour, ideas, assessments, decisions, policies, etc. and do so at all levels - individuals, businesses, nations, cultures, society and even humanity as a whole.

For example, ridicule is has a strong element of negative orientation of self as superior to the ridiculed. Negative orientation evokes strong reactions and a social splitting-apart. Conflict gets its intensity and harmfulness from negative orientation. For example, reluctance (or, rarely, willingness) to change radically and to take full responsibility for past or future comes from both negative disposition and orientation mixed. For example, competitiveness has a strong element of negative disposition.

They affect our behaviour not only in everyday life but also when theorizing; for example, do not academics tend to commit themselves to their favourite theories, and try to protect and enhance their own reputations? In Section 4, we will understand this more precisely, as the two aspects (ethical and pistic) impacting our functioning in all other aspects of life, and vice versa, but here we will focus on their relation to economic functioning.

Attitude affects economic activity. A generous attitude, in which most people trust, not only enhances wellbeing but also strengthens the economy, and a healthy voluntary sector. Its opposite, suspicion, self-protection and self-interest, undermines fruitful economic activity. For example, we will usually find harmful attitudes at the root of corruption. It is attitudes that have led to the climate crisis. Much of the resistance to taking responsibility for climate change or biodiversity loss is rooted in attitude - in both rich and poorer nations, albeit differently. Sacrificial example-setting is a positive disposition, requiring an orientation to the Good.

The major problems we face will not be solved merely by changing policy or laws, which only change surface-level behaviour; we need to uncover and change attitudes at both individual and societal levels. Attitude, whether dispositino or orientation, usually works gradually, so that its effects sometimes take a decade or more to become apparent; and most surveys fail to show any change in attitude. Section 7, however, suggests one way in which change can be faster: genuine repentance.

Conversely, activity in the economy affects attitude. For example, at the level of business, advertising [Note: Advertising] can encourage selfishness and a 'must have' commitment. At the national level, taxes express the attitude of politicians and opinion-formers.

We need a way for economic theory and practice to take better account of attitude and this circular relationship with economic activity - a way that is both intellectually valid within economic theory, and compelling within economic practice. In order that economists will not say, "That is not economics, so I can ignore it in my economic theories and practice" we need an authority that it is reasonable for economists to acknowledge. Where can we find one? Section 4 gives one answer, in the coherence of diversity of meaningfulness that constitutes all reality, and this is worked out in Section 5. Section 7 gives another answer, in religious belief and commitment.

The self-identity of economics is an orientation, whether to the wider world, as embedded economics, or to itself, in detached economics.

3.1.7 The Role of Economic Theory

Compiling economic theory offers a challenge, however, because theory, by its very nature, tends to isolate aspects from others, insofar as it selects one aspect of reality as a core focus, and largely ignores others, in order to understand the way that aspect operates, 'uncontaminated' by the effects of other aspects. [See Clouser 2005 for a good exposition.] Physicists focus on the physical aspect, bilogists and ecologists focus on the biotic, sociologists focus on the social, and economists focus on the economic. (The isolation of single aspects has the unfortunate consequence that, as one of our participants put it [z12], "scientists can wrap themselves up in their own way of thinking, their own terminology, their own jargon, their own ways of measuring and reasoning".)

But focus need not be exclusion. There are ways to acknowledge at least something of the realities of others aspects or spheres and how they impact economic activity and vice versa, which may be seen among the accretions added to theories as they develope, and in text that explains theories. We might see something of this in, for example, Mayer's relating the corporation to its responsibilities in the wider world.

It will require research to work out how to make this inclusion satisfactorily - indeed, maybe, a major research programme - and will find that Dooyeweerd (Section 4) can provide a philosophical framework to underpin this. How he does so is discussed in §5.1. We can build on the work of many recent thinkers, who each contribute insights into part of the picture, such as how to bring climate and ecological responsibility in (Hartropp, Laurent, Dasgupta, SNA 2025), concerning jobs and their usefulness (Graeber, Mazzucato, Manchester Collective), values (Carney), measurements of value (Dasgupta, SNA 2025), defining limits on growth (Raworth, Jackson, Goudzwaard), and so on.

3.1.8 Multi-aspectual Embedded Economics and its Mandate

We have argued that we need to move from what we have called detached economics to a multi-aspectual embedded economics.

Embedded Economics tries to contribute to the Overall Good rather than merely its own good.

As Mariana Mazzucato puts it [Mission, 211], we should "put life at the ecentre of the economy, not the economy at the centre of life". Treasury departments of government and Chancellors of the Exchequer might do the second but should they not commit to the first and third too? Recent thinkers are trying to move in some of those direction, differently for each thinker. The sub-discipline of Behavioral Economics could do the third but often gives unbalanced emphasis to the psychological aspects.

We take the view that the mandate of every sphere of life and its corresponding theoretical field is to contribute to the Overall Good in harmony with all others. This implies embeddedness. When any field or sphere of life sees its mandate as centred on itself - that is, detached from other spheres - it refuses its mandate. It will always find reality working against it, and itself working against reality, contributing harm rather than good, and will ultimately, eventually wither and fail.

Each field or sphere contributes something different. Each has a different mandate; each has a guiding norm. What might economics contribute? Dooyeweerd, whose ideas are discussed in Section 4, suggests that the guiding norm is frugality. All spheres of life require resources to function; economics can guide each in being frugal rather than wasteful with the resources they use. To this end, it can develop and offer understanding of markets, jobs, production-consumption, assessment of value, finance, and so on. That, we suggest, is the mandate of economics as a field of study and a sphere of life.

Given the prevailing presupposition of detachment in most economics theory, in economic theory, the mandate of thinkers must be to rethink that theory from a multi-aspectual perspective and, as we shall see, from a static conception of value (goods, money) to the Good generated by multi-aspectual functioning.

This contribution will often be partial, distorted and even fail utterly, but that does not invalidate the mandate. It just calls us to change our perspectives and mindsets to more effectively fulfil the mandate.

This embedded perspective that economics might and should require several elements. The following sections discuss these: value and its assessment and exchange, repercussions of economic activity as good, harmful or useless, the integration of levels, and the idea of responsibility. Each one, we argue, needs changing from what is currently the case, and has been the concern of various recent thinkers.

3.2 Towards a Multi-value Economics: Widen Value, Beyond Just Money and even Beyond Measurment

"Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 'I tell you the truth,' he said, 'this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.'" [Luke 21:1-4]

In conventional economic terms, the rich donated much more value to the temple treasury, but their donations were probably done with an eye on their reputation, for their own self-satisfaction - attitudes that are hermful if they pervade society. The poor widow's action takes society in the opposite direction, towards the good of a society in which selfish reputation is less important than sacrifice. There is some value there; what is it, and how can economics encourage rather than discourage it?

Section §3.1 argued that aspects beside the economic are important, and that the field of economics should explicitly recognise them in both its practice and its theory. This section argues that they have various kinds of value that economics theory and practice should take into account alongside economic value.

In the RLDG discussions, the value of unpaid activity came up several times. For example [from z12], asking a neighbour to watch our children while we run to the grocery store - even that kind of thing can have value in the economy as well as society, because it depends on and builds trust. The UK organisation Mothers At Home Matter works for recognition of the value of unpaid household activity.

In recent thinking, Foundational Economics draws our attention to the 'mundane' products, services and jobs, and urges us to respect their value. Mark Carney argues that our idea of economic value should be based on our values as a society. The SNA 2025 exercise wants to bring unpaid household work, wellbeing and sustainability, into national accounts.

This section is about widening our idea of what is economic value and how it may be measured or otherwise taken into account in economic activity. It builds on the above widening of the vision and attitude of economics as a whole. Should Economics be seen as the discipline that takes value, of all kinds, into account?

3.2.1 Kinds of value

The concepts of assets and capital in conventional economics indicate value, but value of all kinds lumped together, undifferentiated. We might, perhaps, add an adjective, as in social capital or environmental capital, but the unspoken implication is that they are secondary to economic value. The RLDG found themselves differentiating many kinds of value, all of which were important, and treated economic value as just one kind alongside the others - in the spirit of embeddedness discussed above. This section discusses kinds of value.

Most of the recent thinkers indicate various values that they believe are important but are not adequately taken into account, some called "values", others not, some explicitly listed, others mentioned in the text, some stated positively, such as biodiversity, others stated negatively as problems, such as climate change. Each value is something they believe is important but has been missing or underplayed in conventional economics.

Values are not just factors to be taken into account but something we should aim towards and which should influence the calculation of economic value. Values are not just descriptive but normative. They should guide life, including all economic activity. (Allusions to normativity have occurred in Section §3.1.)

Among the thinkers above, we find a wide range of such values, for example:

We need to make sense of these disparate values. These values may be seen as contributing to the Overall Good, which we want an understanding of economics to take into account. (That is why they are values, not just factors.) At least five questions arise, of which the first four will be addressed later and the fifth one, next:

Value need not be something tangible, like manufacturing or cultivating, but can be as intangible as beautifying, maintaining justice or even fostering good attitude and assumptions in society. In the vignette about temple gifts, in flaunting their wealth, the rich were expressing a societal attitude of the acceptability of showing off, and the superiority of those with more wealth. In giving all she had to live on, the poor widow was expressing an attitude of devotion, generosity and perhaps trust. Insofar as it is the latter rather than the former that are healthy for society and even the economy, Jesus was correct in saying that she gave more than all the rich.

The next section discusses the challenge of expressing various kinds as economic value, so that as economic activities occur, they will tend towards building those values rather than undermining them.

3.2.2 Measuring Value

"God saw all that he had made and it was very good" [Genesis 1:31]

How do we evaluate? How do we measure value? This quotation suggests that God had a way of evaluating the value of the Creation. To Christian thinkers this might give hope that there is a way for us to do so too, even though limited by human reasoning, and so it is justified to search for it. Other thinkers might still like to join us in the search for why and when and how it is valid to measure.

To assume money is a measure of value (a) assumes quantitative measurement is valid, (b) treats value as operating under economic laws of markets, supply and demand, etc. There are many kinds of value or good for which these are not true.

Quantitative measurement of value has driven economics practice and theory for centuries: money, currency, etc. Measurement of value is usually taken for granted, but not all kinds of value can be measured, and some can only be measured in an artificial kind of way that reduces their meaningfulness. As Mark Carney points out, the whole of society itself has become "marketized", seeing everything in quantitative monetary terms and, as a result, much of value becomes ignored. Why? Not only that, the mathematical models used in conventional models make poor predictions; for example, very few if any predicted the massive reduction in cost of renewable electricity. Why?

Measurement, and all the economics paraphernalia associated with it, such as GDP, is a tool not a truth. For a tool, three things are needed: (a) that people know how to use the tool, (b) that the tool is used for appropriate and good purposes, (c) that the tool does not inherently mislead or distort. Frequently, with GDP, for example, none of the three conditions apply, especially when used by politicians: they are not aware of its limitations, they use increase in GDP to gain political popularity, and GDP in any case completely distorts the situation when it comes to harm and waste, as discussed later.

There are at least four different kind of value to be 'measured' or at least taken account of, and each offers different challenges.

We need to be able to take full account of each kind of value, in a way that is appropriate to its kind, whether or not it it quantifiable, and especially relationships and impacts among factors.

The tool of quantitative measurement is valid only for the first two. Measurement against a yardstick is challenged by the appropriateness or accuracy of the measuring equipment. Counting is challenged by whether what is counted is the true value; for example could other things be used as beds?

Measuring approximate quantitative value is what Raworth relies on in Doughnut Economics, when giving the norm that the economy must be more than social floor and less than the ecological ceiling. It is challenged by the inappropriateness of trying to fix precise numbers. Some try to do this by "the price the market will bear". That is what Dasgupta tries to do with biodiversity, taking an Ecosystem Services approach by defining natural capital.

Things that have value but for which even "more" and "less" is meaningless, the fourth, require a qualitative approach. One way these are currently converted into numbers is to take surveys of opinions and count the various opinions. This, however, is fraught with difficulties, not least because it replaces indications of what is really important with the reductionisms, presentism and hubris/idolatry of society - and, worse, does so with the false claim of being "objective".

Gunton et al. [2017] ("Valuing the invaluable") tries a different approach for the qualitative issue of the value of landscape. They employ Dooyeweerd's aspects - ecological, aesthetic, economic, pistic, and so on. One way of evaluating value is to consider the functioning that is meaningful in each aspect, and its impacts for Good or harm, as discussed in a later section.

We need to be critically and keenly aware of the limits of quantification and such challenges presented by each of the four to economics theory and practice.

Part of the problem is that we demand numbers. Do we need to, in all cases, to take numeric account of things? The RLDG felt that recourse to quantification was often too hasty and unquestioning, and discussed the role and valid purposes of measuring. This may be an attitude problem. Is our demand a stubborn commitment to numbers? Are numbers demanded for selfish purposes?

Quantification is not inherent in value, but is an artifact of the purposes we assign to it. So the RLDG posed the question of why and when measure value? Several were suggested, including: giving an overview, judging whether we are improving in any given venture or activity or not, presentation, benchmarking, prioritizing in decision-making. Taking explicit account of our purposes helps embed economics within other spheres of life. However, more (research) work is needed on this. Section §5 discusses how Dooyeweerd's aspects can help us understand different kinds of value and the relationships among them, which might offer a basis for that research.

3.2.3 Rethinking money

Many agree that money cannot properly measure value. However, it is not enough just to say that; we need to treat money differently. That money has been a quantitative token of value for over 2000 years tells us something, so we need to properly understand its role and nature, in a way that does not emphasise economic value over other kinds.

Currently, among most people, businesses and nations, money is treated as a commodity that is owned (as "mine", "ours", nobody else's). It was easy to see gold coins as owned commodities, but this is no longer the case, especially with digital money. Treating money as owned commodity brings many kinds of problems, at all levels, such as:

Many of these were discussed in the RLDG, which also brought in the time factor - past and future as well as present. Slavery came under this. Slavery was unpaid labour, because the slave owners and many others did not want to part with money they though was 'theirs'. Perhaps reparations need to be paid for that, somehow [Note: Slavery]. As one of our participants put it, "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?"

Instead of treating money as owned commodity, might it be better to treat it as functioning enabled - that is a token of agreed value of the human functionings that the money enables and encourages, which contribute to the Overall Good. For example, money enables investment in new machinery, which might contribute to Overall Good. It might also encourage more machinery than is needed for the Overall Good and, as we will discuss below, what is encouraged must be considered as well as what is enabled, because the society that agrees value also holds aspirations and expectations for which kinds of human functioning are worthwhile and which are not.

This is a shift in outlook, which influences behaviour indirectly rather than directly; what difference would it make? For monetary practice, we believe, it would shift away from the self-centred and self-protective hoarding and speculating, towards more generosity that contributes to Overall Good. For monetary theory, it would change the equations that are used, so that variables that stand for money and price would be replaced by those for functioning and value.

There is some validity in the idea of money as owned, but this is better seen as temporary trust to us, as stewards of it towards the Overall Good, rather than as owned by 'me' by right.

It so happens that this understanding of money we need is not entirely foreign to how we function economically - for example understanding money as flow or as the value of labour - but we need something more, and especially something more precise.

3.2.4 Conclusions on value and its measurement

What we call Multi-value Economics counters what may be called Narrow Economics in which only one kind of value is recognised, and all others are reduced to it. We have discussed multiple kinds of value and the need find a way to express them in economic value, noting that some kinds cannot be quantified. The limitations of measuring have been outlined, and a proposal has been made that money may be seen, not as owned commodity, but in terms of human functioning that itself generates value of these various kinds. In the next section, we discuss the harm and non-essentials that reduce this value.

3.3 Towards a Moral Economics: Widening Economics to Acknowledge Harmful and Useless as well as Good

"Love for money is a root of all kinds of evil." I Timothy 6<:10

Much economic activity, and the products or services that result, cause evil, or Harm, rather than Good. Many are useless or at least "non-essential" rather than good. How do we understand this, and what do we do about it?

Why does it matter? Because Harmful activity undermines value (Good) being actualized, while useless activity delays and dilutes its actualization. Yet many products that we love, and which governments love because they boost the economy, are harmful or useless.

Examples of harm: RLDG discussions included junk food, which causes obesity [Note on junk food], cheap clothing, which encourages and depends on injustice and is used to justify it, aviation, which generates greenhouse gas emissions and spreads pandemic viruses, meat production, which not only involves animal cruelty but generates greenhouse emissions and destroys biodiversity (e,g. Amazon rainforest cut down to grow soya to feed to cattle), and gambling, which generates addictions and broken families.

Notice the wide range of kinds of harm, and there are others - which resonates with the multi-aspectual theme above. Some are direct, some are indirect. Various authors have drawn attention to each, especially from the business community if not the economics/ finance communities, such as Colin Mayer.

Examples of useless: 1. A truck carries biscuits made in Glasgow to London, and a truck carries biscuits made in London to Glasgow. 600 miles of fuel consumption and climate change emissions, and two whole driver shifts? Is that really necessary? 2. Yet another business meeting or conference just because someone expects it. Is that really necessary? [Note Spree] 3. Much of our defence spending is wasteful [Note: Jim Radford] 4. And, perhaps to cap it all, is David Graeber's introduces the idea of "Bullshit Job", in which "if the position were eliminated, it would make no discernible difference in the world. Likely as not, things would improve" [p.2]. As Graeber remarks [p.6], "Contemporary capitalism seems riddled with such jobs."

Is the harm the fault of economics as such, or of those who misuse and misdirect economic activity? At the root of RLDG discussions is the presupposition of economics as fundamentally Good, but distorted or misused because of human sin. This comes from the Judeo-Christian perspective, that economic activity has a mandate to bring Overall Good into the world and to serve the world - as maybe reflected in the words "goods" and "services". [Note: Why Good] This Overall Good is what the United Nations SNA 2025 exercise calls "Well-being and Sustainability", and the RLDG referred to as "Healthy Living Environment". Harmful and useless (non-essential) economic activity undermines, detracts from and even prevents that.

So, whence arises harm? In this section we discuss the Harmful and the Useless but leave it till Section §5.3 to offer a definition of them.

3.3.1 Failure of economic theory and practice to differentiate harm and useless from good

Sadly, most economics theory and practice fails to distinguish the Good, the Harmful and the Useless. For example, in GDP or in financial reports of companies. GDP has long been criticised for implicitly encouraging harmful and useless economic activity because it treats it all as 'good', in the sense that it contributes to the norm of economic growth. Because they are conflated together, the difference between harm and good is hidden, and adequate conceptual tools have not been developed for tackling the difference, so that harm becomes discouraged.

In conventional economics, at the macroeconomic level, GDP measures a nation's sum total money flow whether good, harmful or useless. Most governments seem to maintain absolute commitments to economic growth, defined as increasing GDP, and GDP can be increased by encouraging rather than suppressing harmful activities that increase GDP, and by increasing bullshit jobs! A company can increase its income by selling harmful and non-essential products - and increase its profits by assuming others will make amends for the harm. Conventional microeconomics presupposes the rational economic actor, insofar as whatever choices are made accepted without question. Corporate Social Responsibility might be acknowledged by firms as a policy, but seldom do firms seriously look at the harm done by their products or services.

This might be called Harmful Economics, not that it sets out to be harmful but that, by giving no way to differentiate Harm from Good within economic theory and practice, it lets harm expand, and even supports it doing so. Our alternative, in which Harm is clearly distinguished from Good, we call Moral Economics.

Even some of the recent thinkers fail to differentiate harm from good. Marianna Mazzucato, for example, emphasises productivity, but without recognising that some productivity generates harm (example: tobacco). Towards the end [p.263-267] she mentions several "good" things she would like the economy to achieve, such as socialization, innovation, education and longer-term thinking, but only in abstract ways. She does however contribute much to our understanding of the useless in the economy (see below).

Most recent thinkers do recognise harm or the useless however; it is the harm they see being done that often motivates their thinking. However, most do so in limited ways, of two kinds.

Firstly, though many outwith the field of economics, such as environmentalists, often rail against various harms that economic activity does, and sometimes argue them in detail, most in the fields of economics or finance seem to avoid doing so. Instead, they discuss specific past occurrences of harms, such as Carney's [2021] discussion of the credit and covid crises, or they present normative goals we should aim for in the future, such as Carney's set of values, or the SNA 2025's ideas of wellbeing and sustainability. What most recent thinkers fail to do is seriously discuss how economic activity can cause the various kinds of harm now. Without this, exhortations to a better future will stumble over "But economics works like this."

A possible exception to this is Raworth's Doughnut Economics. She sets out seven principles of "how to think like a 21st century economist" so as to avoid the harms she lists in her "ecological ceiling" while avoiding various harms of dropping below the "social foundation". This is to be welcomed.

However, even in doing this, her work might exhibit a second flaw. She presupposes the (quantitative value of the) "ecological ceiling" is above the (quantitative value of the) "social floor". If we presuppose the social floor expected by the Global North, we find it already well above the ecological ceiling in terms of ecological footprint (USA: two-and-a-half to three earths [Note: Ecological Footprint]). To be fair, when she assigns cost figures to her social floor, she does refer to global averages; however, we must question whether what she chose as components of the social floor has been influenced by her presupposition of affluent cultures. [See examples of missing values above.] To what extent is her choice of components of the social foundation based on presupposition of the aspirations and expectations of liberal, affluent cultures?

We need a way to understand the Good, the Harmful and the Useless clearly and systematically, one that transcends the presuppositions of affluent cultures. We need not reject affluent expectations out of hand, but rather question them and also recognise and respect the expectations that pertain within other cultures. One RLDG participant was working in rural Uganda, and was told by a Ugandan,

"We don't need money. We grow our own food and build our own houses. All we need money for is school fees and hospital fees."

In seeking such a way, we need first to understand something about harm and non-essentials.

3.3.2 Types of harm

Harm and evil come in many kinds. It is no good allowing or ignoring one kind while concentrating on another. We must take all kinds into account, and learn how to do so wisely.

For example, some focus on poverty and ignore environmental damage, others vice versa. When trying to draw attention to one kind of harm, it is tempting to ignore others. (Example: Poaching Black Rhino for their horn; the rhinos are tranquilized, their horns are hacked off and the rhino bleeds to death slowly and painfully. Block Rhino horn attracts a high price when sold to China and Vietnam as a medicine or status symbol. Impoverished people in Africa find the high prices paid for horn very tempting, and it is easy to side with one or the other.)

But in truth, each kind of evil makes the other worse: a damaged environment generates and exacerbates, and locks people into, poverty, while extreme poverty means that people damage the environment in order to survive.

Nor must we focus only on poverty and environment and ignore other evils. For example, cruelty to animals brutalises the spirit of the perpetrators so they are staitstically more likely to harm other people. In addition to both environment and poverty, we must consider such 'spiritual' evil, and also others, like crime, addition, deceit and covering-up, obesity, mental stress, waste, enmity, and many more, of diverse kinds. And then there are evil attitudes, aspirations and idolatries which, as mentioned earlier, tend to generate and exacerbate all these more visible evils [Note: Vested Interests]. Part of the problem with much recent thought is that it has focused on one or two evils and ignored others.

Moreover, we must not overlook kinds of evil just because we want to celebrate some kind of good.

Example: "We are democratising the right to laziness" with rapid delivery companies that deliver single items within 10 minutes of ordering them. Convenience and laziness used to be the evil of the wealthy; now many more people can indulge. Rapid delivery is set to be a multi-billion industry, dependent on low wages. Is not democratisation good? But are not laziness, higher climate change emissions per product, and lack of exercise (many don't walk to shops) all evils? [Note: Laziness]

A plethora of evils and harms! Do we just hold up our hands in helpless horror? No! We need to properly understand what each kind of evil is and understand how each kind of evil exacerbates or generates others. For example, poverty is not just lack of dollars per week, whether absolute or relative, but in fact has multiple aspects [see below], not least the social.

3.3.3 Understanding the harm from and to economic activity

As discussed in §3.1.3, economic activity impacts other areas of life and they impact the economy. This impact can be harmful as well as good, and we can understand both directions of harm.

First, some economic activity harms other aspects of life - these are sometimes called "externalities", and were much discussed in the RLDG. Of this kind of harm, some is direct (e.g. industrial injuries), some is indirect (e.g. fertilizer production generating greenhouse gas, leading to climate change), some is short term, some is long term (e.g. climate change, attitudes in society), some is known about (e.g. c;imate change), some is hidden or unknown (e.g. society becoming more selfish or intolerant) or at least unexpected, some of the harm is caused by production supply and marketing (e.g. chemical spills), some, by changes in behaviour (e.g. smoking, leading to lung cancer), some, by subtle shifts in society's attitudes, mindset, aspirations and expectations (e.g. increased selfishness from use of social media). We need to understand all such mechanisms of harm; we suggest how later.

Second, in reverse, some harmful functioning harms the economy, reducing prosperity, making the economy less healthy. This seems to happen in at least three ways (economic theory will supply more).

It was pointed out in the RLDG discussions that even some of the harmful activities might contribute some Good. One that was discussed in the RLDG was that the firms carrying out harmful activities, such as makes of junk food that causes obesity, provide jobs so that people can feed their families, yield tax income for governments, and generate money flow that "trickles down" to the poor. We can immediately see flaws in such arguments. Trickle down theory has long been largely discredited. Junk food makers might contribute taxes to support health systems, but those are needed to deal with the obesity they cause! As one of our participants put it, we're just going "round and round and round". In a low-tax regime we find similar stupid circularities, even when governments are not in the circle. We need to set Harm alongside the Good that economic activity does, in a way that cannot be obfuscated by vested interests.

We need also to seek out the root causes of the harm that is done. "Love of money" is one that Paul saw operating around him. It is not money as such, but love of money. This "love" [Note: Love of Money] is an adherence to money. Adherence to money as the "measure of all things", or all value, is a root of many kinds of harm, because it leads us to ignore and downplay all the multiple kinds of value above. One example of this is banks and retirement funds continuing to finance fossil fuels, despite knowing of the harm they do.

One major challenge is the plethora of kinds of harm, as listed above. Some are obvious and often discussed while others are hidden or yet to enter economics discourse. We need a way to recognise all kinds of Harm, whether currently discussed or hidden. Later, Dooyeweerd's idea of aspects is employed to satisfy this and the above needs.

3.3.4 Understanding the useless, the non-essential

Now, what about the Useless? Let us use the less strident concept, non-essential versus essential. We throw away 30% of our food. At Christmas a large proportion of gifts are not wanted. We fly to unnecessary business meetings. 40% of jobs in 'advanced' capitalist economies are "bullshit" [Graeber 2018]. Manufactured products are thrown away rather than repaired. And so on. Most non-essentials do harm. And yet GDP increases as economic activity generates all these things.

Figures are not yet available for how much of our (affluent) economies is non-essential, because economists have not done the research. But the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the magnitude of them.

On 8 April 2020, the UK Road Haulage Association reported that 46% of the UK truck fleet was parked up because nobody was purchasing "non-essentials" (the word they used). So nearly half the goods transported are "non-essential" (the word they used, especially when interviewed in the BBC Today Programme)! If so, could the transport sector halve its carbon footprint if we no longer demanded non-essentials?

A year later it was found that the clothing sector has reduced by 50% and fuel by 25% (in round figures). These could give some indication of the proportion of the economy that is non-essential. Further, while the savings of the more wealthy (in the UK?) increased during the pandemic, those of the poorest 20% have reduced. What this suggests is that the wealthiest had previously been spending on non-essentials.

Of course, it is not as simple at that - but it does at least oblige us to find better figures and take action. How much of our lifestyles in affluent cultures involves non-essentials? See the JRI blog "The Economics of Biodiversity: An Opportunity for Christian Thinking" and the submissions to the Heywood Foundation that call for research to be carried out.

There is very little discussion of non-essentials in the academic literature. Too little research has been done on non-essentials, neither to provide good quality data, nor to understand its mechanisms. As a first step to understanding non-essentials, we can distinguishing at least three kinds of non-essential or useless economic activity.

The following additional observations arise from the RLDG discussions.

1. Uselessness is not a third category alongside good and harmful, but cuts across both, as in Table 1. Economic activity that produces Good can be essential and non-essential. Some harmful economic activity can be seen as essential.

Table 1. Good and harmful essentials and non-essentials (examples)
(Click on table for full size)

Good and harmful essentials and non-essentials (examples)  1200,450

2. However, it so happens that much of the really harmful economic activity comes from things that are largely non-essential, especially when we take indirect harm into account, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, injustice far away, or encouragement of self-centred attitudes. Is this correlation due to root attitudes? Moreover, does not much non-essential or useless economic activity prevents Good that could have occurred by absorbing human effort uselessly (opportunity costs)?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientist, the hopes of its children." Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953

3. Is there a sharp boundary between essential and non-essential, such that something is either one or the other? There is not. We must not deem things simply and absolutely essential or non-essential. For example, is food essential? Yes - but what kind of food and when? Is having a fifth yacht essential? Probably not. Is having a boat essential? Almost certainly if you are surveying waterways (though much could be done from their banks).

4. Instead of a sharp boundary, can we assign some quantitative scale to essentiality (or uselessness)? To say "more essential" and "less essential" seems meaningful at least in approximate terms, and this implies we might quantify essentiality on some linear scale from essential to non-essential. That might be useful for portrayal during presentations, and also in converting Supply and Use tables, as discussed in Section 6. However, closer examination revealed the meaninglessness of such ruses. (Non-)Essentiality seems to be a qualitative rather than quantitative matter. Something is essential because of some kind good it brings. Later, we suggest a way to think about this systematically.

5. However, much, but its nature in a self-interested, affluent culture, non-essential economic activity does often considerable harm too. "Non-essential" usually brings to attention the inappropriateness of one person's (or nation's) aesthetic pleasures being given priority over justice to others, especially the poor. Conveniences we take for granted in affluent cultures also comes into this category. Unnecessary transport or driving generates climate change emissions, also road traffic injuries and accidents. The surfeit of meat eating and sugar consumption in affluent cultures causes obesity. Much non-essential consumption is because of greed.

We need a conceptual framework by which to differentiate essential from less-essential and be able to discuss surfeit and greed in a useful manner. Do not Bullshit jobs, or production of baubles, for example, at least provide incomes? Sadly, there has been too little research and thinking in economics theory and practice about this. We need a basis on which to judge these types of non-essential in a more nuanced way, which Dooyeweerd offers us below.

3.3.5 Implications

There are several challenges in differentiating harm from good. It has implications for economic planning, especially in conjunction with taking all aspects into account. In our discussions, we recognised that differentiating harm from good implies that some sectors of the economy should shrink, or at least no longer be encouraged to grow. That possibility seems to be an elephant in the room of politics and political economy. Are our (wealthy) economies unhealthily bloated? If so, would it be healthy for our whole economies to shrink - economic degrowth rather than economic growth?

Recognisin{g that even productive economic activity can do harm as well as good or can be useless, motivates responsibility, which we discuss in Section §3.5. It also needs to be understood at all levels, which we discuss next.

3.4 Towards a Multi-level Economics: Widen to Embrace Micro, Macro and Global Economics Together

The traditional division of the teaching of economics into micro versus macro is breaking down. The SNA 2025 exercise also finds that global economics cannot be treated as macroeconomics of nations. Though it may be convenient to teach them separately in university courses, in real life micro, macro and global interact and interweave and cannot be separated.

Many economists now recognise that the sharp division between the economics of households and nations, discussed by Keynes, Fisher and others, is becoming untenable. For example, the ECB has an expert group looking at how to link macro to micro [ECB 2020]. In their redesign of national accounts, the United Nations Statistics Department (SNA 2025) also recognises the need to integrate household economics with macroeconomics (e.g. "The importance of recognizing inter-household flows and stocks: These may be consolidated in the accounts as they may be less relevant from a macro-economic perspective, but they are of crucial importance in compiling distributional results" [WS2 SNA Guidance Note]).

Moreover, global economics cannot be adequately understood as the macroeconomics of nations. SNA 2025, which works primarily at the macro level, has a major Task Group dedicated to Globalization and how it differs from macroeconomics. For example, how do multi-national enterprises (MNEs) fit into national (macroeconomic) accounts and how may the importance of global natural resources be properly understood? Mark Carney struggles with this in his Value(s) book.

This all suggests that the very foundation of the split between micro, macro and global economics is at best unhelpful. What we have is what might be called a Fragmented Economics; instead, we advocate a Multi-level Economics in which all levels are integrated together and the relationships among them are better understood.

The nation state as we know it, and its macroeconomics, is not much more than a century old, yet economic activity at all levels has long been with us, for more than 2000 years. Therfore we believe that it should be possible to find a way to understand them all together, in a way that does justice to individuals, households, organisations, nations and the whole Earth.

To do so requires a conceptual framework that allows economic theory and practice to engage fully with what is meaningful at each level, without reduction, and with due respect for each. We have not found such a framework in conventional economics and, though recent thinkers recognise the need for integration, we cannot find an adequate framework among them. Carney, for example, offers the high-level idea of ESG (environmental, social, governance) values, and the SNA exercise narrows its remit to detailed quantitative constructs. We believe that a more comprehensive framework is required and suggest one in Section §5.4.

When we seek an understanding that integrates all levels, as some economists already do, we must ensure we do not take a reductionist approach in doing so by, for example, seeing everything through the lens of the economic aspect alone. This is how Dasgupta [2021] believes the UK Treasury might incorporate biodiversity into its calculations, by seeing solely in terms of reduction in biological capital. This reduction is what the Circular Economy is based on, focusing entirely on minimizing waste. The SNA 2025 exercise proposes to bring in unpaid household activity via the mechanism of market prices. While casting such issues in purely economic terms might encourage national treasuries and account to adopt them and thereby widen their view somewhat, might it ultimately be self-defeating, because we have not truly taken account of the full reality that the the household, nation, global level and the individual too?

It is certainly true that all levels exhibit an economic aspect and this is the common thread of our consideration of them. But, instead of reducing all levels to the economic and allowing nothing else, we advocate recognising what is most important and meaningful at each level (i.e. which aspects most operate at that level) and understand the relationships those aspects have with the economic aspect. We look at this later.

We need a philosophical framework in which all levels may be understood together, not as mutually exclusive foci but as all within one entire reality, along with the relationships among them. We find one in Dooyeweerd's aspectual approach.

3.5 Towards a Responsible Economics: Widen Beyond Competitive Rational Economic Actor to Recognise Responsibility

"Of those who whom much is given, much will be expected." [Luke 12:48]

Value implies responsibility at the heart of economics. In fact, all four widenings imply responsibility. Economics has a general responsibility to all other aspects of life, to serve them rather than expect them to serve it. Value implies a responsibility to seek it, and economic value has a responsibility to express all other kinds of value. Since economic activity can generates Harm as well a Good, it has a responsibility to actively orientate itself to the Good and away from the Harmful and even from the Useless. That all the levels of economic activity intertwine and affect each other implies that each has a responsibility to the others.

We are not saying that the mandate of business or the economy should be swamped by justice etc. but rather that, if economic activity is seen as embedded in, and impacting, other aspects, then multi-value responsibility is key. The detached idea of rational economic actor, serving their own interests alone, is the very opposite of responsibility because all links with other aspects are severed.

3.5.1 Treatments of responsibility

Conventional economics theory has little place for responsibility, except in very limited ways, so that economic practice is then left to bring responsibility in by stealth, if it wishes to - which is often does not. The responsibilities that conventional economic theory allows are very limited, confined largely to maximizing personal gain or providing incomes for workers. Competition is the accepted kind of relationship between firms and nations. This might be called an Self-centred Economics; we advocate a Responsible Economics.

Self-centred economics tends to fall back on Adam Smith's single mention of "invisible hand" in his Wealth of Nations, relying on the self-love by butcher, brewer or baker (as Smith put it), to achieve eventual equity. But, as Carney [p.30] remarks, invisible-hand theory presupposes idealised economic conditions. And, even then and even if it did work, would it not take too long to achieve this desired state? Instead of relying on the invisible hand to heal the hurts caused by our self-centredness, should we not take responsibility?

A small step towards responsibility may be seen in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), but too often it is seen as merely a ploy to increase market attractiveness, and in any case it is too often merely some giving a tiny percentage of the profits that have been made from harmful activities. One example discussed in the RLDG was of junk food corporations that give money to hospitals while encouraging the health problem of obesity. CSR is seldom true responsibility.

A larger step might come from a Stakeholder rather than shareholder approach [Freeman 1984], in which the business is judged by reference to all stakeholders - not just shareholders, but customers, suppliers, communities, etc. Responsibility to all these is acknowledged - as long as their voice can be heard. But this is challenged when we consider non-human stakeholders, such as the atmosphere and climate at one end, or Great Crested Newts whose habitats are destroyed by a housing development at the other. Human stakeholders have a voice, while the 'voice' of newts and other animals or habitats is seldom heard and carries little weight. A fundamental problem with both stakeholder, as with shareholder, approaches is focus inwardly on the self (of which there might be several in a stakeholder approach), the 'needs' of the entity with a stake in the economic activity. On what basis may we judge needs?

The Responsible Economics approach looks outward, to the other, whatever the other is. The engine that drives it is not the 'voice' of stakeholders, but the responsibility we all have to all others.

Many recent thinkers urge us to take a wider view, but even they do so in limited ways. Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics, for example implies we have a responsibility to maintain the social floor but avoid hitting the ecological ceiling, and that we have a responsibility to redefine economics for the 21st century, but responsibility is only implied, and the word "responsibility" does not occur in the index of her book. In most, the driving motivation behind their proposals exhibits a feeling of responsibility, but again this is implicit rather than explicit.

Mark Carhey's book, Value(s) is a welcome exception. It does have an index entry "Responsibility", pointing to a number of pages, and his final chapter offers a section headed "Responsibility", among others headed "Change", "Uncertainty", "Renewal" and so on, but each section occupies only one or two pages and is aspirational rather than detailed. In other places where he mentions responsibility - for example, he points out that markets and trade distance the provider from the consumer, who then takes less responsibility for the damage done to the provider - responsibility is a general norm. There is a good starting-point, but, given the importance of responsibility - including as recognised by Carney - it requires more.

We need a rigorous and intensive exploration of responsibility in economics, including of its various kinds.

3.5.2 Understanding responsibility in economics

Responsibility to whom? Responsibility is to various stakeholders - to children, to future generations, to wildlife, to habitats, to biodiversity, to society, to the poor, and so on. These responsibilities are variously recognised by recent thinkers, and most fair-minded people worldwide. But they are all rather abstract, but we need something to compelling enough to change the way economics is theorized and practised. In Section 7, we suggest one basis for this, with yet another 'stakeholder'.

Responsibility for what? For what does economic theory and practice have responsibility? Not only for itself (efficient economic activity) but also, so SNA 2025 believes, to wellbeing and sustainability, and they define many aspects of wellbeing, especially in their Guidance Note on Unpaid Work. As we discuss elsewhere, even these are limited. We need a systematic way to identify the kinds of responsibility that economics must keep in mind and respond to, and a way to understand each kind deeply and its relationship with others. In Sections 4, 5, we suggest Dooyeweerd's aspects can meet these needs.

Responsibility for when? Responsibility is not only for now, but for past, present and future. Though we cannot predict or even control the future, surely it is wiser to consider possible repercussions. Though we today might not have done past damage, do we in the affluent cultures not enjoy the 'fruits' of evil done in the past, such as the slave trade? Reparations came up within the RLDG discussions.

Responsibility by whom? Each level of society has its own distinct responsibility. Thus, for example, individuals have a responsibility, not just to make money (within the law) but also to help others (including the natural world), households, not only to provision themselves but also to help other households, to be a good example, and to develop children (and perhaps other adults) in ways that are good for the future, businesses, not only to "increase owner value", "make and keep customers" or even "provide jobs", but to contribute to the resourcing of achieving Overall Good, governments, not just to please their electorate but also to ensure law and policy encourage Overall Good, and humanity as a whole, to care for the rest of Creation, as a shepherd does for sheep (see Section 7 for more on that). Each level links with the responsibility of others: individuals, households, businesses and governments can keep humanity's global responsibility in mind so that in fulfilling their own responsibilities, they are not damaging and undermining sustainability with unnecessary climate change emissions and unsustainable demands on biodiversity.

We need a way to consider and respond to all levels of responsibility together. Neither we individuals nor governments can shirk responsibility just because other levels have responsibility.

Yet, even a global perspective might not be enough. Some suggest that ultimately is does not matter if humankind goes extinct, in that the Earth would get on quite well enough if we were wiped out, often making reference to the theory that an asteroid disaster wiped out the dinosaurs, but then mammals took over. Conversely, others naively put their faith in taking humanity to another planet; ultimately, it matters not if the Earth as we know it is destroyed. Both abrogate and undermine any sense of responsibility - and neither care about the immense suffering that would occur.

We need a way to bring the responsibilities meaningful at each level into every other level's theory or paradigm of economics. That requires some responsibility that transcends all the levels, a point beyond humanity, and even beyond the Earth itself, to which all levels ultimately refer, such as one that is suggested in Section 7.

This gives a wider picture into which all levels fit, and the relationships between them may be understood. If we do not have this, then always the seemingly primary responsibility at a level will trump the others, to the detriment of all. It is all too common for people to argue that one level of responsibility does not apply because of some other responsibility. e.g. "I am responsible primarily to my family" or "I am responsible to my nation to keep its laws".

3.5.3 Philosophical roots of our problem

Why is it so difficult to bring responsibility into the heart of economics? Why have even some recent thinkers taken responsibility for granted rather than explicitly discussing it? There is both a philosophical and a religious problem in this "heart". The religious problem is discussed in Section 7. The philosophical problem is the separation of Is from Ought.

Most conventional economic theory, whether Capitalist or Marxist, seeks to describe and explain what it sees as the Is of economics, its being and processes (which includes money, labour, markets, rational economic actor, etc.), while responsibility is in the province of Ought. Recent thinkers may be seen as rejecting the Is-Ought divorce, even if they do so implicitly by setting up values that they believe should guide economics. When Mark Carney rejects [p.190], the assumption that "markets are moral", he is pointing out that it means that whatever markets do there is nothing to worry about, and hence responsibility need not be considered. Conventional economics had tried to reduce the Ought to the Is.

This separation pervades most of our philosophical and economic theories, and often even practice, over the past 500 years or so. Dooyeweerd [1979] is one of the better expositors of this. The separation is not a 'truth' but arises from the operation of what he called a "ground-motive", a "spiritual driving force that acts as the absolutely central mainspring of human society", which is "spiritual" and "central" in that it "not only places an indelible stamp on the culture, science, and social structure of a given period but determines profoundly one's whole world view" [p9]. He discussed four main ground-motives in depth, which have driven Western thought over the past 2,500 years: the Greek ground-motive of Form versus Matter, the Biblical ground-motive of Creation, Fall and Redemption, the Scholastic ground-motive of Nature versus Grace, and the Humanist ground-motive of Nature versus Freedom.

The latter is the main one in force today in academic and professional circles, and is epitomized in most economic theory seeks to describe and explain what it sees as the Is of economics, its being and processes (which includes money, markets, rational economic actor, etc.), while responsibility is in the province of Ought. We can see this in the assumption, which Mark Carney rejects [p.190], that "markets are moral." Despite the word "moral", this is not bringing in Ought but rather saying that whatever markets do there is nothing to worry about, and responsibility need not be considered.

The Humanistic Nature-v-Freedom ground-motive is, however, not a Truth, but a constricting presupposition, which prevents thinkers to keep Is separate from Ought. Many philosophers, artists and even economists - including Carney and many others mentioned above - are seeking ways to break out of this straitjacket and take responsibility into account. In Carney and Hartropp this is explicit, while in Raworth, Dasgupta and the SNA 2025 exercise it is more implicit, often relying on our intuition that the things they try to bring into economics are desirable.

Dooyeweerd offers a way to understand Is and Ought together, which we explain in Section 4, so that in Section 5 the normativity inherent in economics is woven into its structure. Dooyeweerd allows us to do this explicitly rather than only implicitly, taking it for granted.

Ground-motives are, Dooyeweerd argued, religious in nature, and all theoretical thought, all human reasoning, religiously adheres to ground-motive presuppositions about the ultimate nature of reality. He argued that all thinkers should explicitly declare their religious presuppositions of this kind, in a way that enables others to see their influence on thought and practice. This is why we bring in a Christian Perspective in Section 7. This lets us not just react against the Nature-v-Freedom ground-motive but bring in something more positive.

3.6 Towards a Multi-aspectual Economics: All Widenings Together

We would like - we need - an approach to economics that is able to embrace all the ideas of recent thinkers - and even many of the insights of conventional economics too, both left and right. this might be possible if our understanding of economics can be widened in the five ways discussed above. We seek widening and enrichment, not rejection nor taking of sides. Our widening, however, must not lose its focus on the economic aspect of reality; that must remain its core.

The widenings discussed above include:

As Table 2.1 shows, recent thinkers in economics may be seen as focusing on one or two of the widenings but there seems to be none who focus on them all.

What is needed is a way of understanding the nature of economics in the world that effect all the widenings, doing justice to each in the light of all the others. That will enable us to situate the recent thinkers within the same space. We also want this space to be able to accommodate other issues as they arise in years (or decades) to come. We may call it Multi-aspectual Economics, for reasons that will soon become clear.

Multi-aspectual Economics might be a new paradigm for economics. Embedded Economics, Multi-value Economics, Moral Economics, Multi-level Economics, Responsible Economics - that is what recent thinkers have variously been calling for, some for one, some for another. They have done us a great service in doing so. However, it might be tempting for them, and others, to content themselves with one or two of those. But that temptation should be resisted because we need them all together.

This will be challenging. What grounds have we to hope we can achieve an integration of all those widenings? (a) Real life actually has all these in it - embeddedness of economics, many values, good and harm, all levels and responsibility - and so in principle it should be possible to gain some kind of understanding that amounts to 'wisdom'. (b) We recognise that theoretical approaches (such as economic theory, social theory) are fundamentally limited even though of some utility, so we do not begin with theory, but welcome "everything and anything", as one RLDG participant put it. (c) We approach the entire arena from a fundamentally different direction, in terms of both philosophical meta-thought and religious presuppositions. (d) That thinkers are already addressing the desiderata suggests it is valid to seek them. (e) From the RLDG discussions, and from work in other fields, there is reason to believe that the fundamentally different approach we explore contains the natural ability to fulfil several of the desiderata together, rather than one after the other.

The approach we use comes from philosophy, because it is philosophy that crosses disciplinary boundaries and tackles issues of value, morality, levels and responsibility. We use the philosophy of Dooyeweerd. We do not claim that it reaches answers to all questions. It might, however, open the door a tiny bit more, so that others can enter and explore.


Let us examine the challenge in more detail. Throughout the above text, "we need" has been stated a number of times. Here is a list of them:

The variety of these needs seems frightening. It calls for a systematic approach, and calls for a good understanding of the very nature of the economic aspect of reality itself, which digs beneath the assumptions and presuppositions that prevail. This requires philosophy.

Not all philosophy can cope with such a range of things. However, we believe that Dooyeweerd's philosophy can do so, because its best-known part, Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects, has been shown [Basden 2020] to be able to cope with most of the above in other fields. In brief, his suite includes an economic aspect, and Dooyeweerd emphasised the coherence and inter-relationships between them. Each aspect is a kind of value or Good, and most also define kinds of Harm, and kinds of responsibility. The various levels each emphasise different aspects. So, it is a possible foundation for bringing these widenings together, and that is why we call it "Multi-aspectual Economics".

4.1 Dooyeweerd's Aspects

So, our proposal is that this widening can be systematically explored and facilitated by using Dooyeweerd's philosophy, especially his ideas of aspects. Human activity exhibits all the following aspects.

His fifteen aspects are ways in which things can be meaningful and good, and they are irreducibly distinct (cannot be reduced to each other):

In particular, the economic aspect can never be reduced to other aspects, nor other aspects reduced to the economic. This guards against reductionism.

We function in all these aspects together and simultaneously; they are aspects of our activity, ways in which our activity is meaningful.

Dooyeweerd warned, however, that no such suite of aspects is ever final or complete [Dooyeweerd, 1955, II, 556] but merely a best guess at the diversity of meaningfulness, always open to challenge and refinement. However, as Basden [2020, 209-212] argues, Dooyeweerd's suite it probably the best available, more comprehensive and better grounded than most, even Maslow's [1943] hierarchy of needs. Aspects can never be 100% precisely defined (Dooyeweerd offers philosophical reasons for this) so we always work with in interpretation of them. So we adopt Dooyeweerd's suite, and the interpretations given above, throughout this document. Readers are free to substitute their own interpretations, and even suites, if they wish.

4.2 Attitude and its Two Aspects

The two components of attitude discussed earlier align very closely with Dooyeweerd's two last aspects, the pistic and ethical aspects. They have their importance overlooked, because they work at a deeper level, especially in economic activity. They also constitute what we in some places, including the Bible, is called the 'heart', and they work at all levels, from individuals to nations.

Functioning in the ethical aspect of self-giving love, we adopt either a self-centred, selfish, self-protecting attitude, or a self-giving, generous attitude open to the risk of being taken advantage of. Genuine trust, which is so important for a healthy economy, depends on this. So is generosity. This casts doubt over the validity and efficacy of competitiveness [Note: Competition], and also the presupposition of the validity of the rational economic actor driven by self-interest. It is the ethical dysfunction that makes the affluent bend the economic rules so they enjoy cheaper energy at the expense of the planet and the poor, and competition is a tool for this.

The pistic aspect of attitude is what we most deeply believe, such that we are committed to it, that which is of ultimate meaningfulness to us. It is that by which we justify Harm we do - or alternatively that which most deeply motivates the kind of Good we do. It is our 'god', our 'idol', for which we sacrifice much that is good. Pistic is the deepest assumptions we make, taking things for granted, our presuppositions. Being the terminal aspect, how we function in the pistic aspect affects how we function in all others. What a nation believes about itself, and aspires to, affects whether it is self-giving or self-interested.

"Affluence, arrogance, unconcern" cited earlier embodies dysfunction in both these aspects. Together they corrupt entire societies, filling them with injustice, division, misery and wastefulness (as retrocipatory impacts on the juridical, aesthetic and economic aspects).

4.3 How Aspects Might Help Us

How might such aspects help us in rethinking economics? If we understand Dooyeweerd's idea of aspects more deeply, we will see that:

Those are worked out in Section 5. Here is an overview of what aspects are - which you can either read or skip until you need it.

Dooyeweerd differs from most philosophers, in turning our attention from entities or processes to Meaning, which, he argued, is their very foundation. Things do not just exist or function, but exist-as and function-as, where the "-as" refers to an aspect, which is a "modality of meaning", and hence also a "mode of being" and "mode of functioning" (terminology Dooyeweerd used).

For example, a pen exists-as and functions-as a writing instrument by virtue of its meaningfulness in the lingual aspect, -as a colouring instrument by virtue of the psychical aspect, and (sometimes) -as a status symbol by virtue of the social aspect.

Similarly, money exists-as and functions-as a token (lingual), of value (economic), of exchange (social), -as a measure (quantitative) and a flow (kinematic), -as owned (juridical), -as a motivator, even an idol, (pistic), and so on. (Might this explain Adam Smith's various functions of money?)

Throughout the following sections, references will be made to aspects and readers should refer back here to properly understand what is being said.

Table 3. Good and harmful functioning and repercussions in each aspect (examples)
(Click on table for full size)
Examples of good and harmful functioning and repercussions for each aspect 1328,1800

From an aspectual point of view, sciences seems to progress in phases. 1. Focus on the (laws of) the core aspect alone. 2. Maybe take earlier aspects into account - which results in various different paradigms. At this point, humanity's body of theoretical knowledge of that aspect is largely of the 'closed' aspect, and it might take a century. 3. Recognise later aspects and their impact on, and demands on, the core aspect - sometimes rejecting 'conventional' science in it. Various thinkers focus on different later aspects. 4. A more integrated view emerges, harmonizng many aspects around the core one. Economics, perhaps, has reached the early stages of phase 3, in that recent thinkers might be exploring the importance of aspects later than the economic - though as always the reality is more complex.

In Section 5, we explore how Dooyeweerd's ideas might provide a philosophical foundation on which to undertake each of the widenings, and build a conceptual framework for an Aspectual Economics. This is merely an indication that needs further work.


"More than ever we seem to need a vision of the economic that takes into account aesthetic, juridical, ethical and faith-based norms." [Hengstmengel 2012, 426]

With this final sentence of his paper, Dooyeweerd's Philosophy of Economics, Joost Hengstmengel presents a challenge, not only for Dooyeweerdian scholars but for all engaged in the discourses around economics. In this section, we discuss how Dooyeweerd's ideas (and not just those four norms) may be used to support or achieve each of the widenings discussed in Section 3. The result might be a different paradigm for the fields of economics, finance, business, etc. It interprets recent thinkers in terms of aspects they find meaningful, and enables them to be drawn together.

Dooyeweerd gives us a sound reason for combining insights from business and finance as well as economics, in that in all three the economic aspect is primary, with business bringing in the social aspect, and finance, the quantitative, as well. Issues like ethics and sustainability bring in the juridical, ethical and biotic aspects.

5.1 Embedded Economics: One Aspect in a Multi-aspectual Reality

5.1.1 Main principle:

Every aspect is important. The economic is only one aspect among them all. Its impact on other aspects, and their impact on it, may be understood via inter-aspect relationships. The Economy and economic activity should serve others, not expect to be served by them.

5.1.2 In more detail:

Dooyeweerd's aspects, each being a sphere of meaningfulness and law at the foundation of reality, can furnish us with a conceptual tool for understanding the economic aspect and how it is embedded in reality along with all the others.

That the aspects are irreducibly distinct, gives a way to bring economics and all other spheres of life into a common understanding. Each sphere is understood as functioning in an aspect of life, and the repercussions of that functioning. That is as true of the economic aspect as of the biotic, social or ethical. This enables us to affirm, critique and enrich the ideas of recent thinkers as part of a wider picture in which every aspect plays a part.

The inherent inter-aspect coherence - that each aspect inherently relates to all the others - gives us an understanding of how economic activity impacts and is impacted by functioning in all other aspects. This means that the embeddedness is no mere human or social requirement, but is endemic in the nature of reality itself. This has a number of implications, which need to be explored. Here is a possible one.

It might offer fresh insight into the deep antagonism between those who promote free markets versus government controls on the economy, e.g. via taxes. The ferocity of the antagonism may be understood via Dooyeweerd's Nature-Freedom Ground-motive, which is discussed elsewhere. The actual nature of the antagonosm may be understood more precisely via the inherent interwovenness of the aspects. Let us first explain: The aesthetic aspect is the one that introduces the notion of harmony, such that post-aesthetic aspects presuppose harmony. Dooyeweerd explains, for example, how justice (meaningful in the juridical aspect) presupposes harmony [NC, II, 129]. The economic aspect is pre-aesthetic and hence cares little about harmony. Might free marketeers be seen as those who focus on the economic aspect without later aspects, and contolled-economy be seen as those who want to bring in the juridical aspect too (which is the aspect that makes government meaningful)?

However we might go further, and say that the economic aspect - or rather, its manifestationi in temporal actuality as the Economy and all economic activity - should not just take the others into account but should serve others. It should see itself not as all-important, an idol, but as making other kinds of good activity possible. This implies widening the idea of value, discussed in the next section. This idea probably comes from a Christian perspective, but it need not be confined there [Note: Serving].

Detached Economics just does not work so well, not even for the economy itself. This is what makes Embedded Economics both possible and compelling.

5.1.3 Embracing Recent Thinkers

First, we can affirm the various issues that recent thinkers emphasise, by identifying which aspects most make them meaningful and important. For example, emphasis on biodiversity draws attention to the biotic aspect, emphasis on climate change, to the physical aspect as it supports life (biotic), emphasis on poverty and injustice, to the juridical aspect, and so on.

This gives a way to bring in multiple kinds of externalities, insofar as they can be defined as (meaningful by) extra-economic aspects. That all aspects are equally meaningful and must all be considered in principle, moves so-called externalities into the very centre of economic activity.

The idea of aspects allows finer-grain analysis too. For example, the components of Kate Raworth's "social foundation" may be understood as follows:

This can begin to answer the question of why each component was included. Notice how most elements are meaningful in more than one aspect, which is often the case [Note: Cipations]. In fact, for a full understanding, each one is meaningful in all aspects, for their operation but the ones mentioned are the main ones.

It can also affirm the proposals that recent thinkers offer. For example, Mariana Mazzucato urges us to "pick the willing" rather than the winners [Mission, 206]. This is meaningful in the pistic aspect and the ethical. So is her recognition of requirement of "change in what we aspire to" [p.211]. Dasgupta's proposals for UK Treasury involve the quantitative and biotic aspects.

Second, aspects enable us to critique ideas, in at least two ways. By looking for missing aspects, we may submit issues meaningful in those aspects for consideration. This emerges from Dooyeweerd's belief that things function in all aspects and that every aspect is important. Where, for example, is the ethical aspect in the social foundation? It is what makes love and care meaningful, which presumably are an important component thereof. The SNA 2025 exercise certainly thinks so, because it includes two types of care among the elements of unpaid household activity that it wishes to bring into the national accounts (see list below).

We may also ask whether an aspect has been adequately covered, by reflecting on what we know of the aspect. For example, the social aspect is present above in equity, housing and networks; what about home or household? What about a sense of place (spatial-social)? Do most academics who draw up such lists have blind spots?

There are also deeper kinds of critiques, which are mentioned later, but these two ways of aspectual critique can lead quite naturally to the third contribution, enriching.

Thirdly, we can enrich. One way to do this is to offer, for consideration, missing aspects or missing types of thing in aspects that are present. Another way is to consider how economic functioning impacts that of other aspects, and conversely how that of other aspects impacts the economy. These may be understood via the inter-aspect relationships, especially inter-aspect dependency. For example, our economic activity depends on people's health (biotic) and morale (pistic), on attitude (ethical) and communication (lingual), and so on. A healthy economy, in which resources are wisely used, fosters a more friendly society (social), more trust (ethical) and allows more arts and enjoyment (aesthetic). It also allows more technological innovation (formative), scientific research (analytical) and education (lingual).

Conversely, dysfunction (negative functioning) in an aspect can have harmful impacts in either direction, for example economic activity like soya growing undermining biodiversity by destroying native forests, or pandemics undermining the economy. Harmful impacts are discussed in Section 5.3 below.

Note that ideas like the Circular Economy does not, in itself, reach out to other aspects. Its importance, however, is that it rightly understands the kernel meaningfulness of the economic aspect, namely frugality. Standard economics focuses too much on either finance or products, which are limited versions of the kernel, allowing the quantitative or formative aspects to distort our understanding of the economic. Hence, any new paradigm should have the Circular Economy at it heart, as a presupposition. But the Circular Economy on its own will not solve our problems.

5.2 Multi-value Economics: As Aspectual Approach to Value and its Measurement

5.2.1 Main principle:

Every aspect contributes to Overall Good (including ecosystems, climate, health, wellbeing, attitudes, etc. as well as economies), potentially and actually. So each defines a distinct kind of value. Economic value is only one of these. The challenge and inherent distortions involved in translating value of any other aspect to economic value (via measurement and price-assignment) may be understood using aspects and Dooyeweerd's theory of theory; this can clarify the fallibilities and perhaps control them. Some aspectual value cannot be measured but still occurs in economic activity and should be taken into account in economic analysis and planning. Understanding inter-aspect relationships can help.

5.2.2 In more detail on value

As an example, take the list of unpaid household activity drawn up for the United Nations discussions on redesigning the System of National Accounts, in their Guidance Note on Household Activity. In each, different aspects are primarily responsible for making them valuable, i.e. contributing to Overall Good. (Refer to the list of Dooyeweerd's aspects above.)

For the final one, by asking ourselves "Which aspects are missing as primary aspects? What kinds of unpaid activity might be characterized by them?" we may suggest three other unpaid household activities that should be considered (these were discussed by the RLDG, and there are others):

In fact, each of the unpaid activities above is more complex, and the RLDG carried out a fuller aspectual analysis of them, in RLDG response to SNA 2025. Here, as an example, is a fuller comment on Childcare.

"Unpaid childcare captures the time provided by care givers in the direct care of children." Care has the ethical aspect as its primary, but in the case of children there is usually a strong social aspect of relationship and a biotic aspect too when the children are the offspring of the carers. "This can range from helping with homework [lingual, formative] to feeding [biotic, aesthetic], washing [physical, biotic] or dressing children [aesthetic]."

We might also add: play [aesthetic], maintain justice [juridical], love [ethical], and affirm their worth [pistic]. These four aspects, especially, help to form the character of the child from an early age and, indirectly, their future potential in economy and society.

It might also be no coincidence that all four are post-economic aspects, so that they impinge on and impact, and should guide and regulate, the economic activity and decisions. Using purely economic rationality and laws on their own (as in SNA 2008) misses the importance of these aspects.

Readers can see from that how aspects can be used to draw out issues that are often hidden or remain tangled together.

The 'mundane' goods, services and jobs about which Foundational Economics is concerned may be given respect and dignity by reference to aspects. Each aspect, to Dooyeweerd, is equally important, in that each makes an essential contribution to the overall Shalom of Temporal Reality. The "mundane" goods, services and jobs are often qualified by earlier aspects, for example, crop and animal production (biotic aspect), utilities (physical aspect), health services (biotic, psychical), whereas "favoured" ones, which are not possible without them, tend to be ones currently associated with national pride, which is functioning in the pistic aspect1 (national hubris and arrogance is pistic dysfunction, bringing much harm indirectly).

This gives a sounder basis for such dignity, than mere reaction against the status quo. In practice, when we are tempted to overlook the 'mundane', Dooyeweerd (a) can help us highlight things that are overlooked, (b) offer clearer and deeper understanding of the inter-aspect dependency that makes the depended-on things important.

5.2.3 Understanding value and non-essentials using aspects

From those examples, we sketch out a generic aspectual understanding of value.

As illustrated above, each aspect makes possible, and defines, a different basic kind of value - whether biotic, psychical, social, economic or pistic. Actual value, which actually occurs, may be seen as the result of aspectual functioning, which contributes to the Overall Good (Shalom), or undermines it in the case of aspectual dysfunction (see OGA in equation above). Potential value may be seen as the possibility of Good that each aspect provides. Those may be deemed objective value, though Dooyeweerd would discourage use of that term, in the sense that aspectual value transcends both subject and object, and indeed makes them possible.

Subjective value (actual or potential), to a person, household, firm, nation, society, etc., is belief (pistic functioning of that entity) about how actual or potential value is relevant to them, including in which aspect(s). It usually takes the form of commitment to, and assumption about, the importance of certain aspects relative to others. This is what society's values are, which Mark Carney wants to determine economic value. The next section suggest how they may be translated into economic value using aspects.

5.2.4 In more detail on economic value and measurement

What is value from the perspective of the economic aspect? In most economic activity and theory, (economic) value is assumed to be quantified, and to have already been translated from value of other kinds, so that the nature and laws of that kind of value do not need to be taken into account. As mentioned earlier, the presupposition of quantification may be questioned.

To Dooyeweerd, the kernel meaningfulness of the economic aspect is not quantitative maximization, but frugality (carefulness) with resources. Quantification is merely a convenience in achieving this, but, ultimately, is not essential to it. Modern economics have, however, tended to exclude or downplay the non-quantified.

Even the idea of poverty and justice are too often cast in quantitative terms, reducing poverty to a number of dollars per day, and justice to numeric equality. As a result, unpaid household activity is devalued, environmental damage is ignored, and other kinds of injustice are hidden. See also aspects of poverty above.

We take measurement and money so much for granted that we fail to understand how complex it is. Quantification is useful for certain purposes (mentioned earlier), so it needs to be understood properly, and neither acquiesced to nor reacted against. We may do so with Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of theoretical thought [Note: Transcendental Critique], because the first step in theorizing is the same as that of quantification: selection of an aspect of interest to us. By this, we may better understand measurement and quantification and their limitations. This is so, whether the value we measure comes from measuring something directly (e.g. weight, friendliness) or from counting things, events or opinions (e.g. by surveys).

Quantification of value, leading to a price, involves several things that guarantee that the result usually does not reflect the true value, not only because of well-known errors in measuring and counting, and in assigning a price, but also because quantification inherent requires us to select an aspect of interest and ignore the others that contribute to the value, and because some things might not amenable to quantification, because the quantitative qualifiers "more" and "less" are meaningless.

Example: Calculating the economic value of a forest (as for example, Dasgupta [2021] might wish to do for the UK Treasury, or the UNSD might wish to do to bring sustainability into the national accounts in 2025). First we select aspects of interest that we wish to quantify. Will this be the biotic aspect of ecological health, or the aesthetic beauty of it, its potential to absorb carbon (physical with biotic), as something important to indigenous cultures (social, pistic), indeed as a home to people (social), as something beloved (ethical), as a source of timber (economic), as a training ground (formative), as owned property (juridical), or what? Whichever aspect we choose, we will ignore most others in our calculations. Then we must find properties meaningful in our chosen aspect that are amenable to quantitative expression, i.e. "more, less" are meaningful. While "more timber" can be meaningful, "more ecological health" is almost meaningless except in some artificial way, and hence cannot be quantified. Then we need to find a way assign precise figures, either by counting or by measuring. But what do we count or measure? Even in "more timber" do we measure the girth, circumference, weight, with or without bark, grain, branches, etc.? Inaccuracies abound. Finally, assigning a price to than figure is not always straightforward: what is the appropriate price on closer or looser grained timber?

If we must quantify, and use quantitative methods (arithmetic, statistics etc.) in economics, aspectual analysis can help. In equations, scalars that represent prices might be replaced by vectors that contain an entry for each aspect. But we must be careful to remember that the reality that the measured value expresses operates according to the laws of its other aspects, rather than quantitative laws. Perhaps even this might be brought into the equations in some way, like Pythagoras' equation does for adding spatial lengths. However, before settling on such details, we must reconceive money aspectually.

5.2.5 Reconceiving Currency and Money

[AB: I think this section is too rambling.]

Dooyeweerd opens the way to seeing money differently, as multi-aspectual human functioning rather than as an owned commodity. We should see money as the Good aspectual functioning it enables and encourages. Mariana Mazzucato seems to advocate something similar when she sees markets, not as structures or things, but as outcomes [Mission, 205]. But she does not offer any sound philosophical basis for this.

Dooyeweerd does. He held that things do not exist 'in themselves' but exist only by virtue of aspects. There is no such thing as being-as-such; there is only being-as, where the "as" refers to an aspect [Note: Dooyeweerd's idea of Being]. A pen's being as a pencil is made possible only by virtue of the lingual aspect. Its being as a fluid dispenser is made possible only by virtue of the kinematic and physical aspects. So it is with money. Money, as token of value, is made possible by the lingual and economic aspects. Being its various forms or media is made possible by other aspects:

This serves to show how aspects can help us understand the provision of types of currency.

Other aspects are also important in the reality of money: the formative aspect of its manufacture. Money exists-as agreed value that enables exchange by virtue of the social aspect, exists-as an amount by virtue of the quantitative aspect, exists-as something to trust by virtue of the ethical and pistic aspects, exists-as 'mine' / 'ours' by virtue of the juridical aspect, which also implies responsibility, and so on.

In addition, we need to take into account the functioning that money enables, such as the purchase of timber to make good furniture. The conventional approach narrows the focus down to the exchange of money for timber (Figure 1(a)) whereas our approach sees that as merely one economic aspect of the entire process of furniture making (Figure 1(b)).

Contrasting conventional approach of buying timber and our aspectual approach 1952,900

Figure 1. Understanding buying timber for furniture making
(a) conventional approach; (b) aspectual approach
(Click of picture for full size)

The money enables not only the purchase of timber, but all the aspects of functioning in making the furniture, such as formative planning and making, aesthetic aspect of beauty, another economic aspect of not wasting the purchased timber, and the juridical aspect of doing justice to the timber's grain etc. There is also another juridical aspect in the fairness of the price paid.

That is an example with positive aspects. Usually there are some negative aspects too, such as climate change emissions.

All this is what it is to be money. Whether it is shells, gold, notes, bank transfer or even cryptocurrency.

Of course, that is only for the simple example of purchasing timber, demonstrating how we can gain a fuller and wider understanding of money. There is much more, but all of it might be worked out in similar ways. For example, might this help us understand debt and its conundrums, especially if, as an Embedded Economy, we find the meaning of juridical, ethical and other aspects within the economic aspect and not just bolted on outside? The Jewish and Christian Scriptures seem to hint at such a view of debt.

The effects of using money are not just to be understood, however; they are either good or harmful. So, in fact, is all economic activity. This implies responsibility.

5.3 Moral Economics: Aspects of Good and Harmful Economic Activity

5.3.1 Main principle:

Most aspects define a distinct kind of Good, and of Evil or Harm. Dooyeweerd's aspects can help us separate out the harm from the good and the kinds of these from each other. The Useless or Non-essential may be analysed by reference to aspects and their undue elevation.

5.3.2 In more detail about good and harm (evil):

First, let us consider the good that economic activity might bring in several aspects. Economic activity ensures resources are available, and employs them wisely. As indicated above, this can include food and healthcare (biotic aspect), scientific research and practical analysis (analytic), materials for creating, constructing, crafting or manufacturing (formative), education, writing and media (lingual) and so on.

From the biotic aspect onwards, "harm" or "evil" is meaningful. Harm comes in two ways in each aspect:

Uselessness is often the latter.

5.3.3 Harm as repercussion of dysfunction

Table 1 above shows examples of good and harmful functioning and repercussions in each aspect.

By reference to this, as an example of aspectual harm, let us consider poverty. Poverty can mean different things in different aspects:

Notice how some of the later ones exacerbate some of the earlier ones. That accords with Dooyeweerd's idea of inter-aspect dependency. If we wish to study any of this in detail, we study the laws of each relevant aspect, drawing on the bodies of knowledge of the sciences for which that aspect is their core.

The importance of attitude was emphasised earlier. It may be understood as our functioning in the ethical and pistic aspects. Because they are post-social aspects, functioning in them tends to spread throughout a community or society, whether good or evil. The ethical aspect, with its meaning-kernel of self-giving love, describes exactly that generous and trusting attitude that strengthens both society and economy, and its dysfunction, of self-centredness, is the root of much that undermines both. The pistic aspect includes morale, dignity, and what aspirations and expectations people hold. That these two aspects are distinct from the juridical, and come after it, partly explain why affluent cultures, such as those of the G20, though seeming to have relatively less corruption and better rule by law, are those that have contributed most to destroying the Earth, biodiversity, climate and indigenous cultures.

Example: Aspects can help us understand "democratisation of right to laziness" discussed above. Democratisation is usually juridical good. Laziness is formative evil, climate change a biotic evil, lack of exercise a psychical evil. Depending on low wages is arguably a juridical evil. The selfish, unconcerned attitude of love of convenience is an ethical evil. Presupposing we have a right to convenience is a pistic evil. [Note: Laziness]

5.3.4 Harm and especially uselessness, from undue elevation of an aspect

(This section still requires more thinking out.)

With Dooyeweerd's aspects we can perhaps see two roots of uselessness, and understand harm in a more precise way.

One is that uselessness may be understood as often a dysfunction in the economic aspect. The economic aspect's norm is frugality, and its dysfunction is waste. Bullshit jobs are a waste of the resource of human functioning, which could be directed towards generation of Overall Good instead. Bauble production, whether of goods or services, is a waste of productive capacity and raw materials, which could be directed towards Overall Good.

When we ask "essential for what?" we concern ourselves with the target aspect of that economic activity.

The other concerns attitude, the reason why the useless activity occurs and supplants the good, and several aspects stand to the fore. Baubles usually indicate an undue elevation of the aesthetic aspect, while Bullshit jobs indicate an undue emphasis on various aspects, such as the social aspect because of relationships and favouritism. Those themselves are not necessarily dysfunction. What is dysfunctional, apart from the economic (waste), is dysfunctional attitudes, pistic dysfunction of undue elevation and commitment, with false beliefs, often accompanied by ethical dysfunction of selfish unconcern. The undue elevation often verges on idolatry, which Goudzwaard discusses: an idol is something to which much else that is good is sacrificed, and which is allowed to determine all the way we live. Jobs are created to support the idol, which turn out to be meaningless, idiotic and wasteful. The potential Good that people could be doing, including that of meaningfulness, is sacrificed for it.

If it is objected that non-essential is subjective in attribution, we must acknowledge something of that. And we can also acknowledge that in some, usually minor, aspect, some good might come from useless economic activity. For example, the mere provision of wages is a good in the quantitative aspect. However, that does not allow us to escape the issue of uselessness. Dooyeweerd offers a basis for why that is so, in that the aspects and their norms transcending human subjectivity.

Therefore, for the research that needs to be carried out, on Essential and non-essential, we offer Dooyeweerd's aspects as a conceptual tool. They allows us to identify ways in which the economic activity might be deemed essential while in others it is not, so that clearer discussion might ensue.

That non-essentiality is orthogonal to good versus harm may be explained by the economic aspect being fundamentally irreducibility distinct from the aspect of that good or harm.

Example aspectual analysis of a Bullshit job with which Graeber begins his book [pages 1-2], which may be summarised as follows.

In the German military a soldier needs to move to a different office 5 meters down the corridor, including the computer from their desk. Instead of allowing it to be carried, a sub-sub-contractor is called in, who lives 200 km away and must hire a car to drive down to the office, seal up the computer in a box, wait for it to be moved, then unseal and unpack it in the new office. "So, instead of the soldier carrying his computer for five meters, two people drive for a combined six to ten hours, fill in around fifteen pages of paperwork, and waste a good four hundred euros of taxpayers' money." The primary idiocy (dysfunction) is in the economic aspect. Graeber renarks [p.2] "Kurt's job might be considered a paradigmatic example of a bullshit job for one simple reason: if the position were eliminated, it would make no discernible difference in the world. Likely as not, things would improve since German military bases would presumably have to come up with a more reasonable way to move equipment."

Let us now employ aspectual analysis of that as a conceptual tool to bring out detail. The primary idiocy here is dysfunctions meaningful in the formative aspect (of achieving nothing) and economic aspect (waste). We can see the following kinds of waste: distance driven (kinematic), two people's time (multi-aspectual), paperwork (lingual). This operation incurs the following obvious kinds of harm: climate change emissions (physical-biotic), tiredness from driving (psychical). What is the reason for this idiocy and harm? The regulations in place (juridical aspect). They are in place for two reasons. One is the contracts between the parties involved (juridical, social aspect). The other is the general case, including longer moves where there is the possibility of computers that might contain military secrets being lost or stolen. This again is juridical aspect, but it is motivated by self-protective fear, a dysfunction in the ethical aspect.

We can also detect idolatry. Goudzwaard [1984] discusses four idols, economic growth, technology, national security and revolution. In this case, the idol seems to be national security, and the sacrifice is waste, and "the way we live" is governed by military regulations, drawn up to appease the idol of military security, and hence has departed from "a more reasonable way".

Much of the harm done by Western economies comes from less-essential economic activity, some being pure greed, but much of it being surfeit of e.g. comfort and convenience and pleasure-seeking in wealthy nations - all unduly elevated to be our idols, for which much Good is sacrificed. Mariana Mazzucato has drawn attention to some of that. There seems to be some correlation between harm and non-essentiality.

That is why the Non-essential, the Useless, should not be tolerated, even when it does not seem overtly harmful.

5.4 Multilevel Economics: Aspects of Levels of Economic Analysis

5.4.1 Main principle:

At each level of economics, different aspects are of primary importance and govern the way economic activity operates at that level. That aspects form one coherent set, and we can understand inter-aspect dependencies, means we can bring levels together, and motivates us to do so.

5.4.2 In more detail:

If we examine what happens in economic activity at each level, we find that activity is multi-aspectual, but that different sets of aspects are specially important for that level:

And other aspects still to be included there.

When such functinos, laws, properties and issues are displayed together in relationships, as above, some surprising links between levels become evident, some of which might have been hidden in previous economic theory. One is between the individual and global, in juridical, ethical and pistic attitude and responsibility for the entire Earth. Another is the spatial aspect of household land and national territory. Another, which has been recognised, is the juridical link between organisations and nations in policy.

We do not claim those are the final sets of aspects at each level; others might modify those lists. However, what it shows is two things. 1. Each level finds different aspects meaningful. 2. They are the same set of aspects, so all levels may be understood together in relation to those aspects. This gives hope of a conceptual framework within which we may embrace all levels.

In recognising that, we can go further, operationalizing the idea in economic theory and practice. At each level, different aspectual laws operate and also provide the norms for operating at that level. It is no use expecting that laws that apply to one level are appropriate norms for other levels. Nor should we try to understand the operation of one level through the lens of aspects that are important in other levels. Some analogies might exist, such as households as nations, or nations as households, but those are mere analogies and should never be relied on in economic planning or process.

These are levels of economic activity. As mentioned above, instead of hanging all levels on the single thread of the economic aspect, we want to understand the relationships between the aspects that are most important at each level and the economic: how they affect economic activity and how economic activity affects them [See §3.1 on two-way impact and §5.1 section on multi-aspectual economy above]. This requires understanding of inter-aspect dependencies especially - which indicates some research that needs doing.

That Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects covers both individual, social and societal meaning and functioning, also alongside mathematical and natural-scientific functioning, and all these in the context of inter-aspect relationships, makes it likely to offer the integrative foundation to bring micro, macro and global economics together.

We continue working this widening out. See our discussion of micro-macro in SNA 2025.

5.5 Responsible Economics: Aspectual Responsibilities

5.5.1 Main principle:

Entities (e.g. nation or business) gain their being from aspectual meaningfulness and law, so each type of entity implies responsibility. Aspects can help us to separate out different kinds of responsibility and to understand the various stakeholders. Inter-aspect dependencies can help understand indirect responsibilities, and how economic activity can serve other aspects rather than demand to be served.

5.5.2 In more detail:

Each type of entity is defined, most fundamentally by what Dooyeweerd called "structure of individuality", which is a profile of aspects that define the responsibility and capability of things of that type. In all types of organisation - business, nation, family, etc. the social aspect is important, and the difference between them comes from another aspect, which Dooyeweerd called the leading aspect. Businesses are led by the economic aspect, nation states by the juridical and families by the biotic. These define the main innate responsibility of that type of thing. So, the main responsibility of businesses is to increase value.

However, this is not to "increase owner value", because that would bring in the juridical aspect of ownership, but the responsibility of business is to increase value as a whole - value for the entire Creation. Since we have seen that (a) value is of multiple kinds (aspects), (b) value (in each aspect) is the good minus the harm, the responsibility of business is to increase value in all aspects while minimizing the harm in all. That, it could be said, is the mandate of business.

Likewise, in economics as a whole. If we believe that we human beings have responsibility - whatever responsibility it is - then in economics that responsibility is to seek the Good, reduce and remedy the Harm, and probably to minimise the Useless. As discussed above, by reference to aspects we can separate out different kinds of Good and Harm, and hence the various different kinds of responsibility we have.

Insofar as Dooyeweerd's aspects transcend all cultures, humanity and even the Earth itself, this provides a basis for a responsibility that transcends these and thus possesses some authority that the other views lack. (Christians see that authority as rooted in God; that is for Section 7.)

Each aspect enables us to be responsible and defines what that responsibility is, as given by its central norm. In any field, the aspect at the core of the field will supply its central norm, and hence responsibility, but not its sole one.

Self-centred economics ignores all but one aspect's responsibility, and often is completely unconcerned by harm that its activity causes. To build economics on competition between businesses and between nations - as occurs today - undermines the mandate of business and economics and prevents full Overall Good. It even fails to make sense in conventional economics [Note: Competition].

5.5.3 The aspectual responsibility of economics

Let us begin with the economic aspect, since we are discussing economics. Dooyeweerd argued that its central norm is best expressed as frugality [Note: Frugality]. By this, Dooyeweerd meant the careful management of resources, and certainly did NOT intend meanness or austerity. That frugality is an important norm is obvious when they are scarce, but even when they plentiful, frugality is the important and desirable - and (probably) never harmful. Example: Russian (and other) gas pipelines leak but since they think they have lots of gas they do little to reduce leakage. But what is leaked is huge amounts of Methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas. It would have been better if they had been more careful. Frugality is seen as a positive virtue, not just a reaction to scarcity. This may be seen in art, in which the aesthetic aspect retrocipates the economic: the best art emerges from limitation. More directly in the economic aspect itself, frugality makes sense because we do not know the future need for the resource, nor even, in the present, many of the externalised ramifications of using that resource. This might make sense of why early attempts to rethink economics, such as the Tragedy of the Commons and the idea of the Circular Economy, focused on resource depletion.

Since we take the view that the economic aspect should integrate with all other aspects, serving them rather than expecting to be served, then the norms, and hence responsibilities, that are meaningful in those aspects all become important. For example, the juridical aspect of justice, or the biotic norm of food production or health - which are two of Kate Raworth's implied norms from the social floor. The responsibility of economic functioning is, then, to carefully manage resources in a way that fulfils these norms - for example for health, mental health, good thinking, industriousness, communication, sociality, harmony, justice, self-giving attitude and faithfulness (some expressions of the biotic-pistic aspects).

Understanding inter-aspect dependencies can help us see how responsibilities interact, and some are indirect. For example, human responsibility to animals, plants and ecosystems is a biotic responsibility, but it calls upon ethical-aspect responsibility to think of, and live for, the other rather than oneself. This opens the door to economic activity serving other aspects rather than expecting to be served by them.

Both the theory and practice of economics should be radically changed to embody that.

Further, Dooyeweerd believed that the norms of the aspects cohere, and hence our responsibilities never conflict. If we believe we have a conflict (e.g. in the popular assumption that economic success requires being "not too ethical") then we have misunderstood, and are misapplying, the norms of various aspects. So there is no excuse. Both theory in economics, finance, banking, etc. and practice in those disciplines, should find ways in which economic activity will serve all the norms of all the aspects together. This applies whether the activity is individual agency or structural.

One way of making this compelling is discussed in Section 7.

5.6 Bringing It All Together: Aspectual Economics

Each of the widenings above resonates with, and may be supported philosophically by, Dooyeweerd's ideas, as discussed above. When brought together we have what might be called Aspectual Economics, since the aspects form a common ground in which all may be planted and thrive. This might offer a new paradigm in economics.

Some gaps remain; for example, the above says little about innovation, institutions or curricula of economics courses. Research will be needed to fill these gaps, and also work out all the above in detail especially in practice.

Dooyeweerd's aspectual philosophy offers a foundation for new paradigms in economics. An understanding of aspects and inter-aspect relationships can help (a) work out what is meaningful in those ideas, (b) separate out ideas clearly, (c) draw attention to what has been overlooked or taken for granted, (d) and suggest how functioning in each aspect affects that in others. Because it arises from a ground-motive outwith conventional philosophies, it provide a foundation for quite radical ideas - including the radical idea that conventional economics theories and practice need not be entirely rejected but may be incorporated alongside these, which we briefly discuss next.


In almost every way described in Section 3, conventional economics fails, whether of the right or left. Nether economic growth nor socialist redistribution have brought about Overall Good, but instead, much Harm - in many aspects, biotic, psychical, social, juridical, ethical and pistic. So there is a need for a rethink. Though we see flaws in all views (including our own, and in those of recent thinkers), we do see more flaws in conventional economics, probably because flaws tend to have accumulated more in long-known views in conventional economics.

Despite this, however, conventional economics has revealed many valuable insights about the economic aspect of reality, how it operates. Most of the insights are partial, however, in presupposing detachment from the other spheres of life, and assuming that only economic value counts, conflating harm with good, and not taking responsibility into its centre.

So, we suggest, the workings and theories of conventional economics should not be rejected or replaced so much as redeemed (to use a Judeo-Christian word from Section 7) and radically reformed. The usual reactions to them betray a presupposition often shared with them, which must be questioned. (Example: Much concern over poverty presupposes money as the only measure of value, so ignores unpaid activity.) Instead, we need to properly understand them: what valid insight does each offer, and what presuppositions are to be questioned? Here we employ the method of LACE: Listen, Affirm, Critique, Enrich, to both conventional and recent ideas equally, and we employ Dooyeweerd's aspects as a conceptual tool.

This can cover economics theory, economics policy, economics institutions and economics practice. With economics theory, we can rethink each concept and relationship that plays a role in each theory, and bring in concepts and laws from all aspects that might impinge on it. Examples may be found in various alternatives to GDP, but they need to integrate values of a greater range of aspects. With economics policy, we can give responsibility a greater emphasis, and integrate levels, and stop incentivising non-essential and harmful economic activity. Economics institutions - banks, businesses, university economics departments, etc. - each has a different aspect important along with the economic, and this can help guide how each operates best and should operate in conjunction not only with each other but with all other spheres of life. In addition, the content of their operations (for example of economics courses) can be widened in the ways suggested in Section 3 with the help of aspects as suggested in Section 5. Economics practice can take account of its impact on the rest of life, both harm and good, and deliberately measure all kinds of value in its 'bottom line'. And so on.

The following are mere illustrative examples of some of those, and others need to be given.

GDP is be defined approximately as "total value of all good plus total value of all harm." Why not (re)define GDP as "total value of all good minus total value of all harm"? Supply and Use Tables, likewise, merely measure the total amount of various product types supplied or used by various sectors, not whether they are harmful or good. Why not split each cell of these tables into good and harmful? We have made such suggestions in our submission to SNA 2025, the United Nations exercise on redesigning national accounts.

Supply and Use Tables break down a nation's economic activity by product types and sectors, calculating a monetary figure for each product supplied or used by each sector. This helps economic planners, especially at the national level. We suggest that each figure be split in two, one showing the proportion of Good that results, the other showing the proportion of Harm. Healthy food is likely to show high Good and only a little Harm, while for tobacco the proportions might be reversed. See Figure 2. This can help make planning decisions more transparent, especially as we enhance our response to the climate crisis.

At the microeconomics level, one example has been given above, §5.3.2, suggesting that poverty might be defined, not just as "the condition of living with an income level below a certain minimum amount determined by government as satisfying the needs for food and shelter" [Mabry & Ulbrich 1994, 228], but as a state in every aspect.

A second example might be externalities. Conventionally as effects on third parties, we suggest widening this to be effects on any parties that are meaningful in aspects other than the economic. This might include, for example, effect of an organisation's economic activity on the attitudes or mental states of those working in it - as well as on other parties. We would then use aspects that make the externalities meaningful as a conceptual tool to investigate them.

Example of Supply and Use Table showing Good and Harm 1664,825

Figure 2. Example of Supply and Use Table showing Good and Harm
(Click of picture for full size)

The challenge, of course, is how to put a single figure on many different kinds of harm (or value/ good). But is not that merely an extension of the whole challenge of putting a figure on any kind of goods? "By what the market is willing to pay" is one conventional answer. But is not the "willing to pay" of today and the recent past is, to a large measure, dictated by our willingness to trash three Earths [Note: Ecol. Footprint] for the sake of the selfish lifestyle of the affluent? "Willing to pay" is dictated by prevailing beliefs and pervading attitudes, which currently may be described as "affluence, arrogance, unconcern". Marx's alternative, based on the value of labour, equitably spread to all, is little better, because in practice the value of labour is likewise dictated by "[aspiratinos to] affluence, arrogance and unconcern" even if they take different shapes.

Such ideas are of course to be worked out; it would make a very good research project - but then we must act!


(This section is best understood by Christian readers, and maybe should be hived off into a separate article. We keep it here because: (a) Other readers may find something of interest. (b) We reject the sacred-secular divide, which separates faith from other aspects of life.)

The above discussion offers a systematic approach to rethinking economics, but systematic approaches can be boring and can lack motivation. Also, they offer no hope.

The RLDG is a group of Christian thinkers, and a sizeable proportion of the discussions was about how a Christian perspective can contribute. Our Christian perspective enlivens the rethink, offers compelling reasons to change our ways, even at expense of our conveniences and our cherished or traditional ways of doing things, and it offers hope. In this section we discuss these contributions.

Our attitude is not to dominate, exclude nor even define, but to serve and bless, and do so inclusively. We recognise that some of the contributions come from a general normative or values-driven stance, some from a perspective shared with most religions, some from a Judeo-Christian perspective, and some from a specifically Christian perspective, and clearly differentiate which is which.

First, however, we address the question of whether there can be a 'Christian economics'.

7.1 A Christian Economics?

"You cannot serve God and Mammon" - Jesus Christ [Matthew 6:24]

This page is not seeking nor advocating a Christian Economics, but rather looking at how a Christian perspective, or other religious perspective, can enrich Economics as such. We do not define a "Christian economics" [Note: 'Christian Economics']. Nor do we use Bible verses to dictate principles for economic systems. What we do is to suggest some fundamental requirements for an economics to be "Christian", and use Bible verses allusively to stimulate ideas.

However, we would expect a truly Christian Economics [Note: 'Christian' Economics] will indeed see economics as Embedded, Value-oriented, Moral, Multi-level and Responsible - that is, Multi-aspectual Economics if we employ Dooyeweerd's philosophy to achieve these together - but with an 'extra' that breathes life into it. In the quotation above, Jesus referred to "Mammon" as though an idol. It is a Greek word that refers to a system that makes money the most important thing in life, the factor that determines everything else.

A Christian Economics will see itself as Embedded because nothing in God's Creation stands apart and above others to be treated as all-important; that would be idolatry and hence forbidden. We look for the harmonious Overall Good of the whole Creation - human and non-human. A Christian Economics will be Multi-valued because there are many kinds of value, such as love, joy, peace ... self-control [Galatians 5:22-23] as well as justice, wisdom, etc. A Christian Economics will be Moral because God intended good, not harm (Hebrew tsedeq), and made a clear distinction between them, which much economics ignores. A Christian Economics will be Multi-level, because God is above all, concerned with individuals, households or nations and their kings, and the entire Creation. Has not God given the whole of humankind a mandate to look after the whole of the rest of Creation? A Christian Economics will be Responsible, because all are ultimately responsible to God and thereby to all Creation, whether human or not, to rule (Hebrew radah)) in a way that expresses God's character, especially God's love.

Notice how such a Christian Economics is motivated by the inherent Good in Creation rather than than by opposition to either socialism or capitalism, as some inappropriately-named, so-called 'Christian' economies are. Whereas they derive from antagonism, ours derives from peace (shalom). We allow insights from both socialist and capitalist ideas, alongside recent thinkers, within the wider picture we paint.

However, we don't aim for a separate 'Christian economics', but rather that a Christian perspective can contribute to all economics. That is what follows. It can perhaps add the following to conceptual frameworks for economics, including the Dooyeweerdian one developed above:

Some of these are uniquely Christian, some are shared with a Jewish perspective and some are shared with most religious perspectives.

7.2 Motivation

It is the idea of God, or at least a Divine, which provides ultimate motivation. This is a feature offered by all religions, not just Christianity. [Note: Religion and Ideology]

Whereas much environmental concern is motivated by a feeling of innate responsibility to future generations or of other species, much concern for justice is motivated by injustice, and several of the ideas to reform economics are motivated by seeing either inequality or stupidity in the economic system, they are arguably not compelling enough. They ultimately fall at the "So What!" hurdle. Especially among those who take an Evolutionist view, of species dying out: Why Not? On what real, ultimate grounds should responsibility to others trump my enjoyment of life here and now?

To be truly compelling, a motivation must transcend all these and have the Authority to say "Those things Matter." Most religions and even ideologies provide this, because they offer a meaningfulness beyond the self, to which the self feels it is worth commitment.

However, some religious or ideological commitments can lead to gross harm (the twentieth century offers several major examples). As Tom Holland points out, (Judeo-)Christianity has brought unsought-for Good (as well as harm), so it is worth considering what specific kind of motivation it can offer.

7.3 Meaning and Destiny: God's Intention for the Way Creation Works

"Remember the Sabbath day, by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates." [Exodus 20:8-10]

In current economic theory, Sabbath makes no sense. But once, when we were visiting Israel, someone told us the Sabbath was a sign against idolatry, a sign that even the economy is subservient to God. Sabbath motivates Embedded Economy.

This implies we achieve Overall Good by following God's laws, not by continual economic growth or even redistribution. In his book Garden City: Work, Rest and the Art of Being Human, 2015, John Mark Comer writes, "Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and he's good."

So Sabbath, not continuous producton, works best, even for the economy. Dooyeweerd believed that the aspects he had investigated are (his best guess at) the shape of this Creation, and that is why he believed there is a harmony among them and none are in conflict with others.

This idea, that the Creator is Good and has a plan for Creation that includes economics, was the most widespread occurrence of a Christian perspective in RLDG discussions. "God's world", "God's plan" or "God's intention" was frequently referred to for how it was felt economics should operate as, for instance, in (emphasis added):

"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."

It could also help us understand challenges we have to face, which come from the nature of the way Creation was designed to work, as in:

"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."

Or we might refer to it to help us question what seems to be widely accepted in economics, as for example in this question about competition:

"The reason I asked is that I see the so-called competitor landscape - the whole idea of competitor is probably 90% evil, in terms of the way God intended Creation to work. There is a right kind of competition I think, but to have competition between nations and competition in business is not what God intended. The only good in competition is ..."

7.4 Emphasis on Certain Values

Several of the RLDG discussions were devoted to the role of Christian values in economics, and whether they might make economics better. The set of "Christian values" suggested by Brian Edgar, in his Evangelical Alliance blog, was deemed a useful list with which to begin discussion:

In fact, most of these are not uniquely Christian as values, or even necessarily religious; it is just that these values are emphasised in the Bible more often than others "virtues" are, such as beauty.

Some suggested other Christian values like kindness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), and though some were discussed, the above list was adopted as it was in order to give us practice at working out how such 'nebulous' values might be important to the economy. They tend to express the norms of the final three of Dooyeweerd's aspects, juridical, ethical and pistic (faith), which Dooyeweerd held influence (the flavour, direction of) the functioning in earlier aspects.

The question discussed was: "How can each Christian value contribute to a healthy living environment?" and especially considering economic activity. This made our discussions of them more concrete. It drew attention to the importance of the It gave us practice at thinking seriously about values that have often been ignored, and discussing how extra-economic aspects might affect others. It gave us some initial ideas of how a Christian perspective might contribute to mainstream economic thinking. It forced us to confront difficult questions (e.g. when conventional conflicts arose).

The conclusion was that such Christian values are not sufficient, on their own, to understand or guide the whole of economics, in the way that Dooyeweerd's philosophical ideas might be (there was much reference to Dooyeweerd's aspects), but that they can lend a flavour to it. It was found that Dooyeweerd's aspects did not replace Christian values, but, as one of our participants put it, "a Dooyeweerdian approach enables us to be systematic in recognising the radical implications of the Christian approach."

In particular, most of them seem to be indicators of attitude that would strengthen economics, in both theory and practice, which, as has been remarked on, is a much under-investigated issue in economics. In particular, by reference to such values, questions can be posed that would otherwise be overlooked. So Christian values could perhaps make a significant contribution there.

7.5 The Role and Responsibility of Humankind

Reference has been made to the role of humankind, whether individual human beings or groups like nations or societies. The idea of role and mandate comes by reference to some Higher Authority - i.e. God or some Divinity.

The Judeo-Christian understanding is that humankind was made to "image" God to the rest of Creation, acting as God's representatives to the rest of Creation or, more poetically, as God's under-shepherds of the rest of Creation [Note: Shepherds]. This offers the dignity of responsibility, rather than privilege, to develop the potential that the various laws of Creation offer, in all its spheres. (Dooyeweerd's aspects may be seen as the kernels of such spheres.) This includes economics. Goudzwaard points out that in the Days of Creation, God pronounced all to be "very good" once humans and animals were created; humans add to Creation.

The conventional severing of objective from subjective value in economics theory (including among some recent thinkers) is healed in this Judeo-Christian perspective. "Objective" may be reinterpreted to refer to the fundamental Good that each aspect makes possible and "subjective", as the human mandate to open up this potential and actualize Overall Good through time. A well-known Hebrew word for this Overall Good is shalom. Dooyeweerd offers an extensive understanding of the relationship between objective and subjective.

This idea of mandate is probably what motivated the interest within the RLDG in responsibility at the heart of economics. Above responsibility to the poor, to future generations, to the non-human Creation, including animals, habitats, biodiversity and the Earth were mentioned. Those responsibilities are within Creation, but it was suggested these were rather abstract and uncompelling.

From a Christian (or even religious) perspective, responsibility to God may be added, God as the Creator of these. This responsibility is more fundamental, the ground that makes those other responsibilities meaningful. It also makes them compelling if God is The Ultimate Judge. If we limit our responsibilities to within Creation, they emerge merely as a reaction to the mess we find ourselves in, but with responsibility to the Creator, we find ourselves all situated together in a wider picture with multiple responsibilities to each other that bring joy. So we can no longer excuse ourselves in elevating one of those level of Creation - neither individuals, businesses, nations nor the planet - above others. Responsibility to God is a multi-level responsibility. We take them all seriously.

Responsibility to God is characteristic of most religions, and in most (including some Christianities and Judaisms) it is seen as responsibility to a distant Deity who will judge all. In some CHristianities and Judamisms, however, responsibility is seen as being invited to partner with God, and God partners with us, in the temporal process of actualizing Overall Good. Responsibility is understood as our dignity more than our duty. Those who partner with God, who represent God, are those whose hearts (their tendency in acting, thinking, living) are like God's heart. It is in this vein that the RLDG discussed economics.

Notice the importance on the attitude of heart in the Judeo-Christian perspective. It is from the heart that all actions and words and thoughts arise, whether good or harmful. So God is concerned most with the heart.

7.6 Sin and Repentance

"Affluent, arrogant and unconcerned" [Ezekiel 16:49]

However, the Bible tells us that humans turned away from this partnership, wanting instead to use Creation to serve our own interests as deemed them to be. This is the root of human sin, and the resultant mess that the whole Creation is in.

It is not so much what we do, have done and will do, but rather our attitude of heart, with which God is concerned. If our heart is "after God's heart" then what we do will likely contribute towards fulfilling our Mandate. However, "Affluence, arrogance and unconcern" are attitudes that God most detests. God explained via the prophet Ezekiel that it was this that led to the destruction of Sodom and would lead to the exile of Judah. God "looks on the heart" rather than on "outward appearance" because it the heart attitude that deeply influences what we do and decide. There is evidence that the affluent cultures of the world today display much of this attitude.

Whereas Dooyeweerd can help us understand the kinds of sin and their harmful repercussions, a Christian perspective offers an extra way to deal with it and overcome it, namely repentance, which is a change of heart.

Without repentance, we have three main ways to prevent harm: (a) punishment or litigation to deter people, (b) communication of norms via media and education, (c) psychological conditioning. The first relies on acqiescence to the system of laws or social norms that are currently in play, or the use of force. The second relies on universal acceptance of the norms conveyed, and ignores the influence of worldviews, which are always partial, (e.g. for many decades, even the best norms have largely ignored our responsibility to the Earth and to other creatures). The third is open to appalling manipulation.

None of these methods change the heart. Without change of heart, the sin and its results will continue, often unnoticed. There may be attempts at amelioration, but without change of heart, these will be reluctant and usually insufficient. There may be calls for reparation, but without change of heart, they will be resisted.

Repentance is admitting honestly and deeply, "I was and am wrong", "We were wrong and need to change." It sees the problem in 'me' whether or not there might also be problems in others or structural problems too. Repentance means we no longer try to defend ourselves, no longer try to manipulate circumstances to protect ourselves. It opens the way to seeking the kind of help that is beyond our own capabilities. Genuine repentance can also disarm the other, the one harmed, and open the door to healing. Repentance is more than just saying "Sorry" - though that is usually a necessary first step if genuinely meant. Repentance is openness to making full reparations, even at sacrificial cost to ourselves. Whether and which reparations are actually made depends on circumstances and should be decided by the one harmed, not the one who did the harming. (c.f. Dooyeweerd's ethical and pistic aspects.) The idea of repentance is freeing and dignifying - not enslaving nor demeaning as much of Western culture supposes. It has been found to work countless times in countless situations.

Current economic theory finds it hard to understand this, probably because of its presuppositions either of self-interest (dysfunction in the ethical aspect) or of redistribution (juridical aspect) as the ultimate goal, and its narrow reductionism to the economic aspect. So it deprives itself of that which is most powerful in all Creation, the power of the contrite attitude.

Repentance can be by individuals, organisations, nations or even whole cultures. It may be said that the whole field of economics needs to repent not just rethink or re-understand. Economics needs to admit it has led us astray and must allow itself to be reformed. Only then can the problems that concern recent thinkers be truly and sustainably tackled. True repentance means being open to having anything and everything changed in the direction we are headed. And that means all who theorize and practise within it - which includes most of us! That is why we are audaciously exploring a complete rethink of economics, and have identified the main areas in which it needs to repent.

Rethinking is part of repentance, especially towards repentance of economics theory. That is why the recent thinkers, and maybe even this article, are so important; they are like prophets calling us to repentance.

What gets us to repent? Very seldom can reason do so, nor education, nor psychology, nor even economic pressure. Repentance is of the human heart - Dooyeweerd's ethical and pistic aspects - so true repentance comes about only when we are shocked out of our comfort zones. Mark Carney drew our attention to three crises: Credit, Covid and Climate. Since the Covid crisis, we have had war in Ukraine and what is called the Cost of Living Crisis. Are these allowed by God as warnings for us to repent? Repent as culture and nations? Repent as governments? Repent as affluent individuals (affluent when considering Ecological Footprint)? Did not God warn the peoples of Israel and Judah many times before using the power of Assyria and Babylon to take them away [Note: Warnings]?

The possibility of repentance comes from both Jewish and Christian perspectives. It is what John the Baptist made clear and challenged the people of his day with - and many responded [Note: John the Baptist]. It is not, however, the end of the story. God values "the contrite heart" [Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15] and responds. When genuine repentance occurs, God steps in to act with Salvation;. This is part of God's partnering with us.

True repentance might even be a gift from God; see Acts 5:31. If so, let us who know God fervently petition God to send repentance upon us and upon all people.

7.7 The Possibility of Salvation

The Judeo-Christian idea of sin and repentance always presupposes the idea of God as procactive redeemer, but it is made much clearer, precise and immediate by the revelation through Jesus Christ. In Christ, we see God as no mere absorber of worship or aloof judge, but as the Loving One Who acts to put things right after we have repented. We, humanity and the Earth, are not left on our own to struggle without hope, but God is waiting to step in.

Christians believe that God stepped in, in the most fundamental way, by coming into the world in the person of Jesus Christ, who took on himself the sin of the whole world, opening the way for genuine and full forgiveness and cleansing [c.f. I John1:9] and for the Spirit of God to be able to dwell in human beings to change our heart attitude to love, joy, peace and so on [Galatians 5:22-23]. It is this that Creation awaits [Romans 8:19-23] so that it may be freed. This view is elaborated in Three Dimensions of Salvation.

"Creation" includes the whole field of Economics. In the past, revivals, in which God has worked like this, have had a marked effect on various areas of society. Can it happen again?

The RLDG believes that is possible. This is the reason the RLDG has been "audacious" enough to believe it might contribute to the field and perhaps to its rethinking.

God's salvation brings hope.

7.8 Grounds for Hope

"What is impossible for man is possible with God." Luke 18:27.

The RLDG discussions were characterized by hope. Two main streams of hope pervaded them.

Hope is based on the idea that Creation is fundamentally Good and harmonious. This is because God, the Creator, Loves. That the continual competition among nations to grow GDP has led to pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and injustice, suggests that Creation is disharmonious, but the Judeo-Christian(-Islamic) belief is that Creation is harmonious. It motivates us to find out why this has gone wrong, and gives hope that something can be done, if we change direction. This gives extra importance to differentiating Good from Harm with help from aspects.

We need massive change in direction, and fast, and Mariana Mazzucato echoes the views of many that "only government has the capacity to bring about transformation of the scale needed." [Mission, 205]. But, as mentioned above, there are many difficulties with relying on government to act, including resistance to government control on one hand, and lack of vision in governments on the other. But Mariana Mazzucato is wrong on saying "only", because there is another way to bring about the transformation needed: the Gospel of Christ coming in revival of a whole society, not just individuals. This has happened in the past (e.g. Wales 1904, Finland/Sweden 1850s, Rwanda 1920s) where the Gospel has made a massive difference in society, not so much by forcing rules top-down, but because people's hearts were changed - their aspirations, orientation, and attitudes (c.f. above). Could this happen today?

Hope is based on God. God, not only as Loving Creator, but as the One Who proactively puts things right and wants to do so, when we allow. God has the power to do so. The Jewish Scriptures give many instances of God intervening at just the right time and in the right way, and Christian experience shows a lot more of this over 2000 years. God does not just cleanse us and show us the new way, but God can take direct action.

If we repent, and if Economics repents, we believe that God will step in, sometimes to do what seems impossible to us. One small example of this occurred during the 1904 Welsh Revival, when various societal problems were resolved that had previously proved intractable. Often, God's power is revealed in surprising ways, which even our best thinkers and scientists do not expect. (So we cannot bargain with God, saying "If we repent, will you solve our problems": genuine repentance to which God responds is unconditional, but God is revealed as always responding.) There are many hidden possibilities in Creation that still remain hidden to us, and which God can use when the time is right. However they are conditional on repentance. It is repentance that switches us onto God's right time.

This is not only for this life, this Earth, but for the New Earth and Heavens too. Is not this life a training ground for the next, the Real Life to come, in which that which is "gold, silver and precious stones" will pass through, and what is mere seed now will become a full plant [I Corinthians 3:12; 15:36,42]? So it will be for those who let the Holy Spirit grow their attitude of heart [Galatians 5:22-23] here, even towards economics, and so Economics in the New Earth will be glorious and we will have a hand in fulfilling its true mandate. But those who refuse, and remain "affluent, arrogant and unconcerned", will have no part in this.


Economics, both theory and practice, has done damage - pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change, obesity, increased mental stress, crime and much else besides. Yet economics is not wholly evil. It needs to be rethought, if it is to become what it should be. Stimulated by Mark Carney's Reith Lectures, and by various other recent thinkers, and taking into account even wider issues that might become important in future, we have suggested a new approach to economics, which we have named "Multi-aspectual Economics".

Digging down to the roots, by asking what economics is and what is its mandate within the Creation (or within temporal reality as a whole), in Section 3, we identified five ways in which economics is too narrow and needs to be widened.

Most recent thinkers focus on one of those. The world needs economics to widen in all five ways. That is challenging, but using Dooyeweerd's philosophy we have been able to suggest an approach, Multi-aspectual Economics, which embraces them all, and meets the needs set out in Section 3. It does this by employing that which Dooyeweerd is best known for, his suite of irreducibly distinct aspects, or "modalities of meaning" that are all intertwined in a harmony that is intended to generate Overall Good. Dooyeweerd's philosophy offers a sound philosophical foundation for each of the five widenings individually and all together.

Being aware of aspects (as irreducibly distinct spheres of meaningfulness and law) naturally encourages an Embedded rather than Detached Economics, provides a basis for understanding Multi-Valued Economics, including a sound basis for treating money as that which enables diverse kinds of functioning, automatically provides normativity as a ground for Moral Economics, provides a philosophically sound basis for Multi-level Economics, and encourages and provides a basis for Responsible Economics.

The article could stop there, but it goes further. We have a climate crisis, we have just had a covid crisis, before that, a credit crisis, all a result of the failure and heinous selfishness, narrowness, and unconcern of conventional economics. Much suffering has resulted, especially from environmental destruction. The widenings above are not just an academic exercise; they are urgently needed. A new paradigm is an interesting thing, but does in itself not compelling. The 'further' is to discuss the role of a Christian perspective. We find it sparks the entire idea into life. Its emphasis on later-aspect values gives colour to its Multi-value logic. Its acknowledgement of human sin, the need for repentance and the possibility of salvation, compels and gives hope.

As one of our participants remarked, "I think a Dooyeweerdian approach enables us to be systematic in recognising the radical implications of the Christian approach. [For example] if the Christian approach calls us to be self-sacrificing, Dooyeweerd's aspects give us a way to think about that carefully, without overlooking things and just making it [nebulous]. To be self-sacrificing is difficult and requires some careful thinking."

This might be a new paradigm in economics - and its associated fields of finance, banking and business. If so, the work has only just begun. It needs a host of thinkers - researchers, teachers, reflective practitioners - to take it up and explore it, operationalize it, makes mistakes, critique and refine it. Thank you, if you become one of that host.



Thanks to all members of the Reith Lectures Discussion Group, especially statistician Andrew Hartley, who gave detailed comments on this article, which prompted many improvements.

Thanks to Gill Morgan for the John Mark Comer quotation.


RLDG, Reith Lectures Discussion Group. A group of Christian thinkers came together in November 2020 between the third and fourth Reith Lectures, to discuss Mark Carney's ideas. Discussions continued into 2021, reaching 11 discussions before the summer, when the original of this article was written, and they continue. At the time of compiling this page, over ten such discussions have taken place, and annotated notes of each one are available. Participants include some with training, expertise and knowledge in economics and related practice, and some with expertise in the Dooyeweerdian conceptual framework. The record of our discussions may be found in the directory reith2020/, which also contains direct links to Mark Carney's four Reith Lectures.

Findings of RLDG discussions. The findings of the first eight discussions are collected in Findings of the First Eight Reith Lectures Discussions. They cover: Ideas and concepts of economic activity, Mechanisms of economic activity, Problems in current economic theory and practice, Christian ideas, Using Dooyeweerd's ideas, and Engaging with mainstream thinking. Subsequent discussions have contributed to other findings that inform this work.

Note on 'Christian' Perspective. Some Christians have a reputation of trying to impose their doctrines onto fields of knowledge, but we avoid that. We also avoid the opposite attitude of ignoring Christian perspectives. Instead, in Sections 2-6, we treat the field of economics as is proper to economics, not theology (whether Christian or Atheist or any other), so, in the separate Section 7, try to clearly circumscribe what Christian and religious perspectives might offer. The document could be reworked for a Christian readership by spreading the contents of Section 7 throughout the rest.

Note on Herman Dooyeweerd. Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) was a Dutch Christian thinker who trained in jurisprudence and was perplexed by how the various schools or thought in that field did not speak to one another. He traced that to the fact that each emerged from a different philosophical position (Greek, Scholastic, Kantian, etc.) each of which was the expression of (emerged out of) a different ground-motive. A ground-motive is a fundamental spiritual driving force in society, a presupposition about the basic nature of reality. He examined four of these, the Greek ground-motive of form-matter, the Scholastic ground-motive of nature-supernature (secular-sacred), the humanist ground-motive of nature-freedom and the Biblical ground-motive of creation, fall and redemption. The dualistic nature of the first three led, he argued, to their fundamental antinomies and long-term fruitlessness. In his magnum opus, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, he tried to work out the implications of the Creation, Fall, Redemption ground-motive for philosophy and many scientific fields. In effect, he tried to answer the question, "What does it imply if all is Created by a loving God Who saves and redeems?" Arguably, he died before finishing the project, but what he left us is of immense value, not just for Christian thinking but for all thinking. For example, in the 1930s-1950s he prefigured much subsequent thought about the non-neutrality and non-absoluteness of theoretical thought, discussed by such thinkers as Polanyi, Habermas, Foucault, and many others, and the diversity and coherence of reality, subsequently discussed by a whole range of systems thinkers. Because he came at these from a different direction (i.e. grounded in a different ground-motive), his contribution to both these issues is unique but also relatively unknown. In this article, we apply his thought to economics.

Note on Frugality. The reasons Dooyeweerd chose frugality are complex, but alternatives like prosperity and need-fulfilment do not 'smell' right as aspectual norms. They direct attention back into the economic aspect, whereas frugality directs the attention outwards, as it the economic aspect were saying "I am being careful to minimise my demands on you, so that you are not hindered from flourising." Some RLDG participants felt the core should be efficiency rather than frugality.

LACE: Listen, Affirm, Critique, Enrich. LACE is being developed by the UK Christian Academic Network, as a way of engaging with extant ideas, in order to contribute to the building up of humanity's bodies of knowledge. This contrasts with so-called Christian attitudes or either antagonism to (some of) the world's ideas or acquiescence (to some others). See An Approach to Engaging with Mainstream Thought. For a philosophical-theological motivation for this approach, see Basden [2008].

The RLDG discussions took the attitude of LACE. This article also may be seen as a brief summary of applying LACE, to both recent thinkers and conventional economics. It tries to listen to what is meaningful in each, and especially in the real-life practice of economic activity - though the above is merely a brief summary, to be developed in full. It tries to affirm recent thought, and also some of conventional economics, by reference to the multi-aspectual nature of things and multi-aspectual functioning. It has been able to critique some of them, both theory and practice, by seeing how it fails to take other aspects into account, and by exposing some presuppositions that deserve to be questioned. Most of the critique, especially as set out above, has been towards conventional economics, because it had long been accepted without question, but some is directed towards recent thought. The RLDG tries also to enrich both by suggesting other aspects to consider. For example, we sought to suggest yet other kinds of unpaid household activity based on missing aspects See Values above. Section 6 contains examples of how conventional ideas may be enriched.

Note on Reductionism. Strictly, reductionism is of several kinds, as set out in Clouser [2005], who examines kinds of reduction, and shows why and how they are harmful. Here we mean, not reduction of a problem to components, but reduction of breadth of view and perspective.

Note on each aspect serving others. This has been contested by some Dooyeweerdian thinkers. The arguments are still being worked out. However, the idea of service resonates with the idea of a mandate for economics.

Note on Cipations. McGibbon [2018] calls such combinations of pairs of triples of aspects, "cipations." Aspects may be considered in pairs and triples to help us understand the meaningfulness and functioning of many complex things systematically.

Our submission to SNA 2025. See Broader Comments by RLDG on Bringing Wellbeing and Sustainability into National Accounts, which is our submission about household activity and depletion of natural resources, in both HTML and pdf versions.

Note on Volunteering. Volunteering is rife between individuals, as we help each other, but it can also be important at the community, organisational, national and global level. Example, reported BBC Radio 4 Today Programme 16 December 2021 at 08:20 UTC: The UK town of Grange-over-Sands was deemed not to need a vaccine centre, so local people got together to set one up - especially all the ancillary activities like stewarding people - so fewer people had to be paid.

Note on Marketing. I was told by Sue Halliday, ex. Prof of Marketing, that the mandate of marketing is to find out what customers want and match our products to their needs, but it is usually misunderstood as mere persuasion.

Note on Slavery. There were two things about slavery. 1. It was unpaid - and so maybe we should pay our debts for unpaid labour? 2. It was forced and cruel - and so maybe we should pay damages as well as debts? Though both are injustices (juridical aspect) these are two distinct aspects of the injustice, economic and ethical-juridical. As such, shoule we keep them distinct in our minds and understand the different norms of each. They are of course linked, but they need not be conflated.

Note: Competition. Though competition is almost universally accepted as a desideratum in much conventional economics and business, as stimulating excellence and innovation, there are many downsides and it is doubtful whether it is necessary for these. See the opinion piece, Competition, Rivalry and Status: Some Biblical and Practical Reflections, where competition is seen as an idol.

Note on Capital Market. Linda Sari noted that "the current capital market is not sustainable because it depends on the presence of small and uninformed investors to survive, which means it continuously expects others to be the "weak" agents to make others strong/win."

Note. Common Good and Overall Good. "Common good" is similar to "Overall Good" but has connotations we wish to escape, such as being centred on humankind. From our a Christian perspective (see below), we mean wellbeing not only of humankind but of all Creation - as also environmentalists recognise.

Note. Economics as Life. In this article we try to avoid using "the economy" as a synonym for life, and use that term only when we mean that, and use words like "cultures" "nations" or "peoples" to emphasise those aspects. Instead of "developed economies" we speak of "affluent cultures" because this occurs among many elites as an aspiration even in so-called less-developed nations.

Note on "Divine". Clouser [2005] defines "Divine" as self-dependent and on which all other things depend, and uses the term "Creation" for all that depends on the Divine. In most religions this refers to God, as Origin or Creator or Ultimate Reality. In belief-systems that reject the idea of God, usually one aspect is treated as Divine, and this manifests itself in "isms" or reductionism - that which is taken as absolute and which determines all else. Clouser gives examples of such treatment of the quantitative aspect (by Pythagoreans), physical (by materialists), etc. In this sense, extreme reductionist economics treats the economic aspect as Divine.

Note on Advertising. Advertising is not, of course, usually included in university courses in economics, but those in business. However, modern capitalist economies depend on it for economic growth.

Note on Non-necessary Business Trip. Each year, Microsoft Corporation hosts a spree in the USA at which maybe 25,000 people attend. In 2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it went online, and only 800 people attended. The other 24,200 people, it could be argued, thought it was non-essential.

Note on junk food. In the UK dealing with obesity costs the NHS £6bn per year. It is probably much more in the USA. RLDG discussed how McDonalds, KFC, etc. generate obesity, in Discussion 9, Discussion 10 in various places. These cause harm and yet are seen by governments as thrice good, in that (a) they contribute large tax revenues to the government (which must then be spent on healthcare to overcome the obesity etc. they cause), (b) they increase GDP, (c) they claim to contribute to CSR. Yet, in reality, such firms cause much harm not only obesity but also rainforest destruction, etc.

Note: Jim Radford, author and singer of the famous song, The Shores of Normandy and the youngest person to take part in the Normandy Landings in 1944, tells how he was serving on a ship with sophisticated, new guns that could shoot accurately beyond the horizon, and wondered whether it would not have been better to have spent a fraction of the huge funds spent on them had been spent on preventing the need for them, e.g. with better negotiation.

Note: Why Good? Our most fundamental reason for believing that the economy (all economic activity) is supposed to bring Overall Good into the world and to serve the world, is because of our Christian belief.

Note on Ecological Footprint. Ecological footprint is a measure of how many Earth-similar planets it would take to resource the lifestyle if adopted by the entire population of the world. Various algorithms are available, but most include non-renewable resource depletion, climate change emissions, biodiversity loss, etc. For the USA lifestyle the ecological footprint is between 2.5 and 3 Earths. Carbon footprint is similar but takes account only of climate change emissions. Earth Overshoot Day is similar, measured in terms of by what proportion of the year our lifestyle would have used up all the earth's resources. Anything earlier than December 31st means we are over-plundering Earth's capacity to cope; for the USA Overshoot day is sometime in April. Dasgupta [2021] tries to measure these more precisely, taking into account the Earth's rate of recovery when renewable resources are depleted (e.g. trees).

Note: 'Christian Economics'? However, tactically, if there is a danger that "Christian Economics" might be effectively 'trademarked' for a kind of unconcerned free-market economics, then should we maybe 'trademark' it first? ;-)

Note: Vested Interests. An of the orientation, of idolatry; of the pistic aspect. Example: The Clinton administration pushed for Green GDP but A West Virginia congressman put a halt to the effort, fearing it would hurt his state's coal mining industry.

Note on Laziness. "We are democratising the right to laziness" See either Guardian (longer) or The Week (shorter).

Note: Love of Money. In I Timothy 6:10 Paul remarks that "Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." This "love" is not the same as self-giving love that we discuss elsewhere; it is the Greek root-word phil rather than agape. Phil indicates a kind of adherence to the loved thing.

Note on Dooyeweerd's Aspects. Dooyeweerd [1955,II, 556] warns that no suite of aspects, including his own, should be treated as some final truth, but that its users should always maintain some critical caution, and be open to other aspects and interpretations of their meaningfulness. However, Basden [2019] argues that Dooyeweerd's suite is the best we have so far, being more comprehensive than the others (e.g. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Hartmann's levels, Habermas' action types, etc. and also more soundly grounded in philosophy than most are.

Reith Lectures. For links to, and comments on, all Mark Carney's Reith Lectures, see "". Also Chapter 11 of Carney 2021.

Note: Idolatry. Idolatry is when one thing or one aspect is given absolute meaningfulness and priority over other things. As Bob Goudzwaard [1984, 21] put it,

"Suppose we consider the worship of a wood, stone or porcelain image, a practice still common in the world today. This worship has several steps. First, people sever something from their immediate environment, refashion it and erect it on its own feet in a special place. Second, they ritually consecrate it and kneel before it, seeing it as a thing which has life in itself. Third, they bring sacrifices and look to the idol for advice and direction. In short, they worship it. Worship brings with it a decrease in their own power; now the god reveals how they should live and act. And fourth, they expect the god to repay their reverence, obedience and sacrifices with health, security, prosperity and happiness. They give the idol permission to demand and receive whatever it desires, even if it includes animal or human life, because they see the idol as their savior, as the one who can make life whole and bring blessing."

Not only a physical thing, we can idolise any type of thing, idea, cause, or even an aspect. Much economic theory tends, unwittingly perhaps, to idolise the economic aspect. Dooyeweerd at least felt that idolatry is universally and inherently harmful. This is partly why we widen beyond the economic aspect to all others.

Note TC on Dooyeweerd's Transcendental Critique of Theoretical Thought Applied to Measurement Dooyeweerd posed three "transcendental problems", which are universally necessary in all theoretical thinking. Measuring involves the first, namely that, faced with the entire panoply of diverse aspects of meaningfulness, we abstract away from it by selecting one aspect (or a few) that are meaningful to us. That selection can never by justified by logic alone (analytical functioning), but is extra-logical, a commitment (pistic functioning) to one or a few aspects and ignoring others. In the process we also largely ignore the relationships are chosen aspect has with others, at best reducing them to analogical echoes thereof. This limitation is different for measuring a property and counting things, and both are affected by which aspect is being measured. Measuring a property depends on what we deem "more" and "less" mean in our aspect (because those are what are transduced to the quantitative aspect). Counting things depends on our how we identify the things to count (analytical functioning targeting the aspect of interest), which varies according to aspect. We use detectors for counting quantum particles, but perhaps social surveys to count perceptions of beauty in art. Therefore, to understand when it is appropriate to measure, the problems of doing so, and how to do it, a good knowledge of the aspects can help. See page explaining Dooyeweerd's view of theoretical thought.

Note: Dooyeweerd's Idea of Being. To Dooyeweerd, things exist by virtue of their meaningfulness and functioning in various aspects, and types of thing are possible because of profiles of aspects, which he called "structures of individuality". The aspects in this structure / profile govern how things of that kind tend to function, defines the multiple "being-as" of the thing, and defines a 'good' instance of them. (Philosophically, this is radically different from both the Cartesian and Heideggerian views.)

Note on Rationalities. Rationality is a making-sense or nonsense, and each aspect makes sense of reality in a different way. This was highlighted by Peter Winch and Jürgen Habermas, who pointed out that the rationality of the social sciences and of theology differ from that of physics. See page on Aspectual Rationality.

Note on Meaningfulness. "Meaning is the being of all that is created, and the nature of our selfhood" wrote Dooyeweerd [1955,I, 4] in the introduction of his magnum opus. Unfortunately, Dooyeweerd himself seemed not to discuss what meaning is. Instead, see Basden [2019] for a discussion of Dooyeweerd's understanding of meaning, or the web page on Meaning.

Note on Affluence. See the prophetic talk Hope in this Climate Emergency: Leviticus 26 - promises of national blessing or its opposite on Youtube and a fuller written version.

Note on Fruit of the Holy Spirit. But have not Christians done a lot of evil in this world over the past 2000 years? Indeed they have. But not all who are called 'Christians' truly allow the Holy Spirit to grow these attitudes, especially those in affluent cultures. So, in this article we are not supporting Christianity and Christians as such, but rather those who are truly surrendered to Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Note on Theology. Much theology over the past 1500 years has been influenced by what Dooyeweerd called the nature-grace ground-motive, which led theology to elevate the sacred over the secular. By reaction, some theologies react into near secularism. Some merely try to cobble them together e.g. by trying to "re-enchant" the secular, or turn the focus of religion away from God to moral things like injustice. But, today, theologies are emerging that bridge the sacred-secular divide. For one, see A New view in Theology and Practice.

Note on 'Christian' Economics. Sadly, some claim the name "Christian economics" for a version of free-market or right-wing economics, and some claim the name for left-wing economics, but all they are doing is 'christening' their own prior prejudices with a sprinkling of selected Bible verses. Are such 'Christians' guilty of idolatry?

Note on Religion and Ideology. Ideology can also motivate. What's the difference? Ideology grasps one aspect of reality as Absolutely demanding our loyalty and sacrifice. Religion posits a transcendent Divine that has the Absolute Authority to demand that. The weakness of ideology is that it can be contested by those who, reasonably, point to other aspects that are equally important.

Note on Shepherds. See Dominion of Humankind in Rest of Creation: Consumers? Stewards? Shepherds!. Shepherds love and care for sheep. Does not the Good Shepherd lay down his life for the sheep?

Note on Heart. I Samuel 16:7: "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance; the LORD look at the heart." Psalm 51:17: "A contrite heart ..." Matthew 15:18-19: "the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart ... Out of the heart come ..." Ephesians 6:6 "... doing the will of God from the heart" Luke 6:45: "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, the mouth speaks."

Note on Warnings. There is a whole theology on God's warnings, and many nuanced views. For example, see Making Sense of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

Note on John the Baptist. Luke 3:1-20. Read slowly, thoughtfully, ponder every phrase, and see how it applies today.

Note on Three-Dimensional Salvation. See "".


Basden A. 2008. Engaging with and enriching humanist thought: the case of information systems. Philosophia Reformata, 73(2), 132-53.

Basden A. 2019. Dooyeweerd's understanding of meaning (1) Some main themes. Philosophia Reformata, 84(1), 102-29.

Basden A. 2020. Foundations and Practice of Research : Adventures with Dooyeweerd's Philosophy. Routledge.

Bauman Y, Rose E. 2009. Why are economics students more selfish than the rest? IZA Discussion Papers Number 4625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

Carney M. 2021. Value(s). William Collins. This book expresses what was in his Reith Lectures. See also our summary of and discussions on Carney's Reith Lectures.

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Goudzwaard B. 1984. Idols of our time. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

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Mazzucato M. The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy. And Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism. See comments on Mazzucato.

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This page, "", is part of Christian Thinking in Economics, which is part of Christian Thinking Space.

It was compiled by Andrew Basden onwards, from Findings of Reith Lectures Discussion. Written in the style of classic HTML, using Protext and Pagestream on an Amiga 1200.

Created: 25 June 2021 Last updated: 1 July 2021 from ideas that emerged during the 9th Reith Discussion. 2 July 2021 added Dooyeweerd's aspects, and also the link between xn values and aspects; renamed 'xn.rethink' from 'reith.findings'. 4 July 2021 added re micro-macro, and also added a point to how Dooyeweerd's philosophy offers this. 5 July 2021 bit more on poverty. 7 July 2021 xn and y. 9 July 2021 systematizing intro. 12 July 2021 cipations. 14 July 2021 widening rearranged, with micro-macro rewritten and put later, and money and measuring rewwritten; abstract. 16 July 2021 slight changes. 21 July 2021 described the widenings, and changed a bit else; refs. 24 July 2021 links. 27 July 2021 name-labels. 2 August 2021 shrink econ.

28 August 2021 created fuller version; links to SNA in z11, added labels. See original, draft, version. 21 September 2021 added money; Econ subsid of Env quote. 22 September 2021 new intro. 22-30 September 2021 complete revamp. 1 October 2021 non-xn readers, money as functioning harmonises, better intro wording; different verses; table comparing thinkers. 6 October 2021 new intro. 8 October 2021 redoing widening, to have responsibility, and likened §2,§3 to lit rvw. 10 October 2021 helps radical ideas. 19-29 Oct: many changes, and upload at last!. 30 October 2021 edits to §2. 1 November 2021 §3.1 redone. 2 November 2021 §3.2 Values redone. 3 November 2021 Redoing some of the redone; responsibility to God; redid money. 4 November 2021 attitudes to §3.1, Rest of §3; §4 levels. 8 November 2021 Aspectual Value moved to 5.2, and all renumbered; edits of §4, §5, §7. 9 November 2021 naming kinds of economics; §2 rw; rw §5.1; 5.5. 10 November 2021 new concl. Lots of other bits rw, incl. §4, §3.6, etc. most ===== dealt with. 11 November 2021 better on aspects; 3ds; for readers. 12 November 2021 attitude; dealt with =====. 16 November 2021 rewrote Section 7, Christian part. 18 November 2021 n-foot, attd. 18 November 2021 diagrams. 22 November 2021 Marx's labour value. 23 November 2021 stakeholder theory, CSR, BCorps. 24 November 2021 embedded compelling; new §5.1.3; aspects r.t. hierarchical, PPP. 25 November 2021 debt. 27 November 2021 new title, was "Rethinking the Economy, Towards a Multi-aspectual Economics enlivened with a Christian Perspective" and had earlier been "Rethinking the Economy, with the help of Philosophical and Christian Perspectives". 29 November 2021 stuff of econ in intro. 1 December 2021 reword mandate; progress in an aspect. 4 December 2021 marketing. 5 December 2021 John Baptist. 6 December 2021 Mayer. 7 December 2021 bz, finance, econ together. 12 December 2021 CSR. 13 December 2021 Linda Sari note, minors; shortened rethink money. 16 December 2021 vectors r.t. scalars. 16 December 2021 conv done harm. 17 December 2021 aspects help: concl. 20 December 2021 redid §7 Xn persp with extra section. 21 December 2021 rw §3.2 Value intro; n-vlnt. 24 December 2021 active God, and better intro §7. 28 December 2021 non-essentials, GDP, xn qns. 31 December 2022 better intro to money. 5 January 2022 renamed Unconcerned Economy with Self-Centred Economy because it gives more than just an opposite and expresses the competitiveness of firms and nations, with more in §5.5.2. 9 January 2022 New §3.3.2 Kinds of harm, laziness, corrected sect nos. 16 January 2022 Marx reductionism. 19 January 2022 Xn persp: all Creation, and rw some of §7.1. 22 January 2022 validity in 'owned'; rw slavery; "common good". 27 January 2022 "gaps" and rw in §5.6; negative repercs of Detached Econ. 29 January 2022 practice and theory. 1 February 2022 Circular Economy = econ kernel; sanctions. 2 February 2022 rw responsibility §3.5. 3 February 2022 §2.1 4 challenges and 'we need's. 4 February 2022 trademark xnec; rlg can harm. 10 February 2022 corr label. 11 February 2022 TT reductionist; mammon to §7. 17 February 2022 began incorporating Andrew Hartley's edits. 19 February 2022 §7 Heart, New Earth; couple of corrections. 24 February 2022 bits from 3-embed. Rw §3.1 Embedded, and contents. 2 March 2022 asps poverty with links; more editing of §2. 3 March 2022 finished §2 from AH. 5 March 2022 Behavl econ. and bulleted embed; measuring 3 kinds of value; filled out §6 w. institutions etc. 7 March 2022 rw §3.2.2 meas value. 10 March 2022 some bits from notes for bz protection as idolatry, rw Abstract 2. 16 March 2022 invisible hand, p-ovgd. 17 March 2022 §5.1.2: pre, post aesthetic; §4: closed, open asps; rearranged descr of aspects. 22 March 2022 half-way embed, and rw §3.1.2; §4.2 begins with promise of how aspects help each widening. 24 March 2022 added n-xnpp; §3.1.7 split, and added re chancellor of excq; 10 April 2022 intro Embed. 18 April 2022 Mazz 'Mission' and bits. 19 April 2022 Useless as dysfunction in the economic aspect, §5.3. 20 April 2022 Goudzwaard; "very good". 23 April 2022 McDonalds. 24 April 2022 repentance as gift. 26 April 2022 Rhino, Vested Interests. 4 May 2022 reschr mandate. 6 May 2022 useless: moved paras §5.3 to §3.3 and rw ghu. 7,9 May 2022 Terms used. 12 May 2022 brought in measurement tool from ze17, and rw §3.2.2. 20 May 2022 Eisenhower. 27 May 2022 comp idol; what get us to repent; "mine!". 13 June 2022 §7 intro rw, clearly differentiating xn, jd-xn, rlg, val. 17 June 2022 MAHM. 20 June 2022 ideology + note. 30 June 2022 bits. 1 August 2022 Mt 6:21. 30 August 2022 tiny micromacro. 2 September 2022 edited §3.4, §5.4 from Andrew Hartley's comments (for which many thanks); it involved a major rw of paragraph on reductionism. 24 November 2022 Intro note about this being initial ideas.