Theology, Philosophy, Ethics, Spirituality and Economics: A Call to Dialogue

Theology, Philosophy, Ethics, Spirituality and Economics: A Call to Dialogue

A paper by Kamran Mofid presented at AN INTERFAITH DAY IN LONDON Into the Heart of the World, Sponsored by International Association for Religious Freedom; with World Congress of Faiths & Religions for Peace; Hosted at London Central Mosque & The Islamic Cultural Centre, 7 December 2011

Introduction and Abstract

The topic which I wish to address here is vast; all I can reasonably hope to do is paint a picture with very broad brushstrokes. I wish to argue that economic and business decisions impact many aspects of our lives, whilst they also raise important moral and ethical concerns which call into question what it is to be a human being. I will argue that decision-makers (contrary to what is mostly practised today) need also to concern themselves with the world of heart, mind and spirit.

Although self-interest is an important source of human motivation, driving the decisions we make in the marketplace every day, those decisions nevertheless have a moral, ethical and spiritual dimensions, because each decision we make affects not only ourselves but others too.

I also wish you to note that, this brief synopsis is not addressed to the learned, or to those who regard a practical problem merely as something to be talked about. No profound philosophy or deep erudition will be found in the following pages. I have aimed only at putting together some remarks which are inspired by what I hope is common sense, and mostly further inspired by the wisdom of those before me. I have learnt greatly from the wisdom of others, and I wish to share a bit of that with you. All that I claim for the recipes offered to the reader is that they are as such confirmed by my own experience, observation, and most importantly, by my enriched life journey, both personally and professionally. On this basis I venture to hope that some among those thinking about the same and other related issues may find this contribution helpful.

It is my hope that with this personal and professional reflection, I can begin an open dialogue with all concerned colleagues, friends, the business community, bankers, politicians, theologians, fellow economists, students and others, so that together we can consider a working solution. As the current global crises have clearly shown, the whole world is waking up to the value of co-creation and the harnessing of knowledge from diverse sources, disciplines, experience and expertise.

Moreover, I wish to present my thoughts in an easy-to-read and jargon-free style. I see my role as a story-teller, in a heart-to-heart dialogue and conversation with the reader, nothing less, nothing more. We are facing some major crises. For me, the answers lie in simplicity. No need to complicate matters more. It is time to be contemplative and take action for social justice, for which a sustainable economics and business for the common good are an essential part.