Merciful Father, you have brought us to the light of a new day, keep us safe from every sinful inclination. Grant me the grace to do what is pleasing in your sight through all my thoughts, words and deeds. I offer you this day for the intentions of Pope Francis for this month. Our Father...
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.
In 1975 the economist and philosopher E.F. Schumacher wrote a famous and influential book, Small is Beautiful. Its illuminating subtitle was A Study of Economics as if People Mattered.
Economics certainly has a ‘relative autonomy’, intrinsic standards of credibility and excellence. But one of those standards is relevance. How do economists throw light on human activities, purposes and values? For Christians these values are grounded in our sense of human life as a divinely created gift that we must honour responsibly and share generously.
It is fatally easy to imagine economics simply as the study of money or finance as such. Prosperity is usually measured by growth and profit, no matter who benefits and who is excluded. In fact market economics rarely explores how growth could be achieved by raising the income of the poorest since higher wages might ‘threaten profits’. The American theologian Joe Holland joked bitterly, ‘The economy’s fine. It’s just the people having a hard time.’
We pray this month that economists may understand their work as a vocation, discerning how the workings of an ‘economy’ may increasingly serve the shared human good.
- Frank Turner SJ, extracted from Living Prayer