First Session : Economics and Spirituality: Ethics, Trust and Loyalty in the Marketplace

Speaker: Dr. Edy Korthals Altes

The relevance of the spiritual factor for a new approach to economics

One of the main characteristics of modern society is the unbalance between the spiritual and material elements in life. This has led to a fundamental disorientation in a dark world in which humanity is confronted with some acute threats to survival. This is also manifest in the key sector of modern society: economics. A misguided attitude towards man, material goods and nature has lead to an economic order, which is unjust and unsustainable. The rediscovery of the spiritual factor is indispensable for a new approach to economics. Economics should no longer be seen as a goal in itself but as an instrument to serve the needs of all human beings in an interdependent world. And this, within the limits imposed by our natural environment. A new awareness of manís place in Ultimate Reality would expose the three myths now steering the economic mechanism: infinite material needs, endless growth and the idolatry of a completely free market. This new approach will entail a more sober lifestyle but crate the conditions for an improvement of the quality of life.