Thursday, April 15, 2010

'Foreword' to ETHICAL ECONOMICS For Today And Tomorrow.

ETHICAL ECONOMICS For Today And Tomorrow . . .


It seems almost paradoxical that in a time when science and rationality are on the surge, when everything is measured, weighted, turned around, assessed in light of human physical and mental truths, someone by the name of Bruce Koerber decides to examine the economic problems of the planet beyond a visible, tangible, measurable and understandable horizon, in a dimension that scientists, engineers, economists, environmentalists’ do not dare to enter; a space where the finest and most intangible qualities of humankind emerge so powerfully.

Thousands of years have physically evolved human beings into its current status: beautiful and erect; millenniums of aesthetic and deep variations involving his whole being; and it has taken thousands of years for their intelligence to become as brilliant as it is now: millenniums of clashes between cultures, between different life styles and philosophies explaining the meaning of life and knowledge.

The times we live in are certainly times of transition from a life style based on “separations” and one which will have to be lived on fundamentals of “integration”. “Separations” between races, belief systems, ways of thinking, life-styles, customs, arts, sciences and “integrations” towards a planet on the way to becoming “one country” which should align its citizens towards a new vision that we can define as “integrated” or perhaps better reflected by the expression “ unity in diversity”.

From the scientific point of view it is now commonly accepted that no topic can be explored by a single scientific branch, as this used to be the “usual way of conducting things” which has produced “contradictions and troubles” and it should therefore be replaced by a new way of working known as “interdisciplinarity of sciences and their integration”.

Meaning that every problem in our universe should be seen from an interdisciplinary perspective, which is with the contribution of all sciences.

Yet this isn’t enough. We should add to this interdisciplinary contribution what derives from man’s “intangible” assets, which include his inner qualities, talents and spiritual gems.

Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, said in the second half of the eighteenth century: “Man is a mine rich in gems of inestimable value”. Among these gems we find intellectual and spiritual ones. Only through an integration of the latter can we finally enter a stage of maturity for humankind, where physical, scientific, economic and spiritual aspects will give an integrated vision of development and of the remedies for the mistakes that have been made in the past and that today we keep making, due to a lack of multidisciplinary vision.

Mr Koerber’s text offers a contribution to this new multidisciplinary vision: a contribution that brings the divine into a dry science such as economics. We certainly live in a time where it may seem like God has forgotten or, even, forsaken this planet.

Never have we been so far from a concept of life aligned with spirituality, never before have human beings been so far from the divine and instead devoting their lives mainly towards accumulating wealth, to use and satisfy one’s selfish desires. Never before has our planet witnessed such a major contradiction: the very rich on one side and the destitute on the other. A thick and tall wall divides these two categories of people, the rich being the minority, against the vast majority of the poor.

A wall that produces a distorted development where the masses of the world sink deeper and deeper into the dark abysses of hunger and misfortune, while limitless riches, which Pharaohs and Caesars or imperialistic powers of the last century have never dreamt of, are accessible to just a few managers of human affairs.

This increasingly tall and thick wall is the wall of modern economy. The last financial crisis confirmed once again how this barricade is not being affected and how rock-solid it remains.

It is instead a pressing necessity to bring back the science of economy to a wider, more holistic, more ethical, fairer vision that favours humankind.

Bruce Koerber has written an essay that addresses this issue, introducing the divine in economic science, allowing economics to re-emerge in all its power focused towards a balanced development of society.

It is a brave text, it goes against the trend, a contribution, an experiment, a project that allows the reader to reflect on this new perspective, a contribution rich with innovative ideas, which, if followed, will enable the rise of a new vision of “true knowledge”, which will contribute to the betterment of living conditions on this planet.

Giuseppe Robiati
Business Leader, Lecturer, and Author
Milan, Italy
March 20, 2010

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