Ethical Economics

Ethics are concerned with promoting mutually acceptable behavior between people and groups of people.

Economics are concerned with people and organizations obtaining and using scarce resources.

So ethical economics is the combination of the two: promoting acceptable behavior between those who are striving to obtain those resources.

It is often said that the words “Ethical” and “Economics” cannot be used together. But that implies that people must be too concerned with maximizing their own share of those resources to consider the effects of those actions on others. That we should in effect not have “loving our neighbor as ourselves” as a principle which we hold as the essential basis for looking for the development of the human race and ourselves within it.

-- http://www.ethical-economics.com/

Ethical Economics
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
The Bohol Chronicle

I think we need to be familiar with this concept and try to help build it up, making everyone as far as possible to get involved in the task. I think that as we progress and face more challenging times, we need to see to it that we are also doing our economics properly.

We just can't allow our economy to work by the principle of the so-called "invisible hand." That would be working by blind faith, tempting God and creating an environment that favors the privileged, the strong and the rich to take advantage.

We have to discard the idea that some mechanism inheres in the economy that would automatically make things right. That simply is not true.

While we have to respect personal freedom and right to private property, we also need to not only to have some regulations, but also to expand and tighten them, so that the whole system can function really well.

I was reading the other day the speech of the Vatican observer to the UN conference last June 26 on "The World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development," and this-ethical economics-was what at bottom he was driving at. I agree with the idea, though it sounds fantastic still at the moment.

Let's quote some words of his: "Underlying the current economic crisis is an ideology which places individuals and individual desires at the center of all economic decisions.

"The practice of economics has reflected this ideological focus and has sought to remove values and morality from economic discussions rather than seeking to integrate these concerns into creating a more effective and just financial system."

He concluded by saying that this attitude has created a society in which short-term economic and personal gains are made at the expense of other and have the effect of creating an individualism lacking recognition of the shared rights and responsibilities necessary to create a society respecting the dignity of all people.

He then called for integrating ethics into our economic activities. This is easier than done. Not only do we need to know the relevant ethical principles. We also have to know how to apply these principles, what adequate structure and support system would be needed to make the ethical dimension workable, etc.

A lot of pertinent education in all levels of society is needed to make everyone at least to be aware of this concern, if not to empower them to effectively participate in shaping and keeping our economic system alive and healthy.

What is desired is that more and more people develop a growing sensitivity to the requirements of the basic social principles of the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity in their different aspects and levels. Alas, I wonder what efforts are made to pursue this particular goal.

Besides, there are basic questions that need to be clarified yet. Like, how do we strike a healthy balance between profit and social responsibility, private property and universal destination of goods, individual initiatives and corporate activities, confidentiality and transparency, etc.

I could readily see that there can be no easy answers to these questions, nor rigid formulas to follow. What's needed is a continuing vigilance and a deepening formation of consciences, since we are actually appealing to the sense of freedom and responsibility of persons.

In the end, there is a clear spiritual and moral dimension in all these economic activities. And that's where the main problem lies, since at present we are still stalled by a formidable obstacle starting with people's attitude and mentality.

The obstacle has two sides: one is that those in business generally feel religion has no place in it, and two, that those in religion also generally feel the economy is not their business.

To be sure, there had been attempts to link the two, but so far, they generally succumb to a common fatal anomaly-that of thinking that business and economy can be run like faith and religion, that is, in terms of dogmas that do not respect a certain autonomy of our business activities.

These points are still wild, new frontiers that need to be cleared, developed and settled. And one basic and indispensable task is to spread the idea of ethical economics to pave the way for more concrete actions for our economy to work properly.

Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE) in Talamban, Cebu City. You can email him at:Email: roycimagala@boholchronicle.com


Don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul

A wounded woman lies on the ground following a blast at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in central Jakarta July 17, 2009. Six people were killed in nearly simultaneous explosions at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the Marriott Hotel in central Jakarta on Friday, Indonesian police said. Jakarta police spokesman Chrysnanda Dwilaksana said he could not confirm if the blasts were caused by bombs. A Jakarta hospital official said 10 people had been brought in for treatment.


Heal The World

By Michael Jackson


There's a place in our hearts
And we know that it is love
And this place could be much brighter than tomorrow
And if we really try
We'll find there's no need to cry
In this place we'll feel
There's no hurt or sorrow

There are ways to get there
If we care enough for the living
Make a little space, make a better place...


Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If we care enough for the living
Make a better place
For you and for me


If we want to know why
There's a love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares for joyful giving
If we try we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel fear or dread
We stop existing and start living

Then it feels that always
Love's enough for us growing
So make a better world
Make a better world...

(Repeat Chorus)


And the dream we were conceived in
Will reveal a joyful face
And the world we once believed in
Will shine again in grace
Then why do we keep strangling life
Wound this earth crucify its soul
Though its plain to see
This world is heavenly
Be God's glow


We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we cry happy tears
See the nations turn their swords into plowshares

We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space
To make a better place...

(Repeat Chorus 3X)

There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place
For you and for me...


You and for me...

(Repeat 10x then fade)

Jesus' words when undergoing persecutions [Matthew 10:16~31]:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved.

Therefore don't be afraid of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known.

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.

Don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

Aren't two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father's will, but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.

* * * * * * *
In every work of evil there are corresponding far great opportunities for goodness to shine.

Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)


Changing The Rules Of Interfaith Dialogue

Ministry Lessons From A Muslim
His message to Christians: Fully embrace your identity
By Skye Jethani and Brandon O'Brien
Christianity Today

"Remember, the three most powerful narratives on the planet are narratives of religion, narratives of nation, and narratives of ethnicity/race. You cannot afford to forfeit that territory by talking about economics or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Don't be afraid to be Christian ministers. If you don't use the Christian narrative to define reality for your people, then someone else will define reality for them with a different narrative." - Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel is not the most likely seminary professor. His credentials are not the issue. Patel earned his doctorate from Oxford University, and he is a respected commentator on religion for The Washington Post and National Public Radio. He has spoken in venues across the world, including conferences for evangelical church leaders.

What makes Eboo Patel an unlikely seminary professor is that he is Muslim.

The editors of Leadership first encountered Patel at the 2008 Q Conference, where he challenged 500 Christian leaders to change the rules of interfaith dialogue. "Muslims and Christians might not fully agree on worldview," he said, "but we share a world." Patel spoke of his enduring friendships with a number of evangelicals and his desire to move beyond the "clash of civilizations" rhetoric that dominates Christian/Muslim interaction. While holding firmly to his belief in Islam, he also affirmed church leaders. "Even though it is not my tradition and my community," Patel wrote after the conference, "I believe deeply that this type of evangelical Christianity is one of the most positive forces on Earth."

We were intrigued, so we contacted Patel to talk more about the ramifications of increasing religious diversity in America, as well as his outsider's perspective of the church's response. Patel gave us more than we bargained for. He invited us to attend a class he was teaching on interfaith leadership at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Patel is not on the seminary faculty. He serves as the executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)—a Chicago-based international non-profit that brings together religiously diverse young leaders to serve their communities. The seminary invited Patel to co-teach the course on interfaith leadership with Cassie Meyer, a Christian who serves as the training director at IFYC.

Be more Christian

When we arrived in the class, which included twenty seminarians—men and women from diverse racial and denominational backgrounds—the students were discussing a newspaper article. Patel and Meyer were using the report about tensions between Somali Muslim immigrants and Latino workers at a meatpacking plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, as a case study. The Muslims wanted the factory's managers to adjust production schedules to accommodate their prayer times and holidays like Ramadan. Others in the rural community admitted being uncomfortable with the influx of so many Muslim neighbors—particularly after September 11, 2001.

"Imagine you are the pastor of a church in Grand Island, Nebraska," Patel says to the class. "A reporter from The New York Times calls you because he is working on a story about the conflict between Muslims and Christians at the meatpacking plant. The reporter asks you, 'What should Christians do?' How would you respond?" After a few moments of reflection, a student answers.

"I would talk about the fact that this country was founded on religious freedom," he says. "We have to respect other people's beliefs."

"Yes," interjects another student. "But if they allow the Muslims to take breaks for prayer, it will disrupt the factory's productivity. There is an economic reality to consider. If the plant shuts down, the whole community will suffer."

For fifteen minutes the students debate the matter, fluctuating between constitutional rights and economic realities. Finally, Patel interrupts.

"I'm hearing you articulate two grand narratives. First, the narrative of American freedom. And second, the narrative of capitalism and productivity. But remember, the reporter is not calling you because you are an expert in economics or constitutional law. He's calling you because you are a minister. Don't be afraid to answer the question as a Christian. Answer out of the Christian narrative."

The irony of a Muslim challenging a group of pastors to be more Christian was not lost on the students. Heads dropped as they contemplated a different response to the case study. Cassie Meyer assisted the students by adapting the scenario.

"Imagine you're the pastoral intern at the church in Grand Island," Meyer says, "and you've been given the responsibility to preach a sermon this Sunday addressing the conflict between the Christians and Muslims. What would you say from the pulpit? What would you use from Scripture?"

"The greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbors," says one student. "Whether we like it or not, these Somali Muslims are our neighbors and we are called to love them."

"But many in the town don't view the Muslims as their neighbors," says another student. "They view them as intruders, unwanted outsiders, or even their enemies."

"Do you think referring to the Muslims as 'enemies' in your sermon might inflame the problem?" Patel asks.

"I don't think so," the student responds. "Jesus calls us to love our enemies and to show kindness to aliens. But that would have to be made clear in the sermon. The story of the Good Samaritan comes to mind." Patel is out of his chair, energized by what he is hearing.

"I want you to see what just happened," he says. "I want to affirm this. You are using the grand Christian narrative to respond to an interfaith conflict. First, I heard the Christian story of loving God and loving your neighbor. Second, I heard the Christian story of the Good Samaritan and the call to love the stranger. By using these stories, you are defining reality through the Christian narrative.

"Remember, the three most powerful narratives on the planet are narratives of religion, narratives of nation, and narratives of ethnicity/race. You cannot afford to forfeit that territory by talking about economics or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Don't be afraid to be Christian ministers. If you don't use the Christian narrative to define reality for your people, then someone else will define reality for them with a different narrative."

Patel's call to stand firmly on the Christian narrative isn't what most students expect to hear from a Muslim professor. [...]

Click here to read full text.

Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments as recorded in the book of Mark 12:30-31:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these."

Love doesn't harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law [Romans 13:10]. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Galatians 5:14]

What ways are there that are able to deal successfully with the problem of human relations other than what the Lord Jesus has taught and demonstrated by his brief life on earth?


Iron Sharpens Iron

Obama asks Russians to forge partnership with US
By Ben Feller, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo News

Moscow – Working to turn Russia from antagonist to ally, President Barack Obama asked the Russian people Tuesday to "forge a lasting partnership" with the U.S., but he acknowledged after talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that on divisive issues there won't be "a meeting of the minds anytime soon."

Obama was wrapping up a two-day stay in Russia, during which he and President Dmitry Medvedev said they were determined by year's end to negotiate a new nuclear arms treaty that would slash both country's arsenals by about one-third.

After breakfast at Putin's country home, Obama sped back to central Moscow to tell the graduating class of the prestigious New Economic School that the U.S. and Russia were not "destined to be antagonists."

Throughout his young presidency, Obama has hewed to a singular message about U.S.-Russian relations, insisting that both nations must get beyond the kind of thinking that gripped Moscow and Washington during the decades of the Cold War. He reprised that in his graduation speech.

"It is difficult to forge a lasting partnership between former adversaries," Obama said. "But I believe on the fundamental issues that will shape this century, Americans and Russians share common interests that form a basis for cooperation."

Before leaving for Russia, Obama had said that Putin had "one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new." After breakfast with the Russian leader, he told Fox News Channel: "I found him to be tough, smart, shrewd , very unsentimental, very pragmatic. And on areas where we disagree, like Georgia, I don't anticipate a meeting of the minds anytime soon."

Putin, the former Russian president, also spoke warmly of his country's hopes for improved U.S. ties with Obama in the White House.

"With you we link all our hopes for the furtherance of relations between our two countries," the former KGB official said, sitting next to Obama.

The White House had been hoping to reach a broader Russian audience with Obama's speech, but the address was not widely available on television. It was carried live on the 24-hour news channel Vesti, but not on any of the main, more widely watched Russian outlets such as First Channel, Rossiya, or NTV.

Obama used his speech to further define his view of the United States' place in the world and, specifically, to argue that the U.S. shares compelling interests with Russia.

"Let me be clear: America wants a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia," he declared.

His upbeat comments showed Obama's determination to turn around public opinion in Russia, where polls show people are wary of the United States and take a skeptical view of Obama himself.

He said Russian and U.S. interests largely overlap in halting the spread of nuclear weapons, confronting violent extremists, ensuring economic prosperity, advancing the rights of people and fostering cooperation without jeopardizing sovereignty.

But he also sprinkled in challenges to Russia, particularly in the area of democracy. U.S. officials are wary of Russia's increasingly hard-line stand on dissent.

"By no means is America perfect," Obama said. But he also said: "Independent media have exposed corruption at all levels of business and government. Competitive elections allow us to change course. ... If our democracy did not advance those rights, I as a person of African ancestry wouldn't be able to address you as an American citizen, much less a president."

Obama said the U.S. will not try to impose any kind of governing system on another country. But he argued for democratic values "because they are moral, and also because they work."

On Georgia and Ukraine — two nations that have sought NATO membership to the chagrin of neighboring Russia — Obama tried a diplomatic touch. He defended the steps nations must take to join the alliance, adding, "NATO seeks collaboration with Russia, not confrontation."

The White House described the session positively, on the whole.

Both sides agreed to try to be better listeners and pay more attention to how each side is looking at the same issues, said one senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the private meeting that was described as "very candid."

Before the speech Obama held what the White House characterized as a "good meeting" with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The U.S. leader, accompanied by Medvedev, also met with U.S. and Russian business leaders. Obama also met with a diverse collection of nongovernment leaders from both countries — health experts, environmentalists, reporters, human rights advocates — who held their own summit to re-engage engage bilateral cooperation.

Obama also met with Russian opposition leaders.

On Wednesday he heads to a G-8 summit in Italy. While there he will meet Pope Benedict XVI, before moving on to Ghana where he plans to deliver what the White House describes as a major foreign policy speech.

To sharpen irons, physical contact and rubbing are necessary. Irons may successfully sharpen each other if they are strongly determined to stick together and willing to endure the real pain of rubbing against each other.

Unequal or insufficient pressure (commitment) from either one will cause both of them to fall apart. And
too much friction in-between them will not cause any rubbing motion at all.

Putting everything under the guidance of the Master Blacksmith, a masterpiece can be hoped for.


Was Once A Flourishing Young Tree

Can a tree choose its place of growth? Can it move from where it has grown? Can it always flourish in every environment?

Can a tree be blamed for not bearing fruit? Can it simply be rejected for failing to flourish? Suppose you are that tree, what can/will you do?

The tree shown in the picture was once a flourishing young tree. On the ground where it has grown were once green grass where cows, horses, and goats used to graze. But now it has become a heap of non-biodegradable wastes.

The toxins of the garbage in this open dump site poisoned whatever were once flourishing in the area. All that is left is a dying young tree that seems to plead to the heavens for some measure of mercy.

Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers; But his delight is in Yahweh's law; On his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalms 1:1-3)