This chapter examines basic assumptions of economic theory and practice together
with biblical themes related to these issues.
A comprehensive definition of economics as "the management of the resources
of the household" necessitates including issues of power and values in
discusions of economics.
The false ideology of all economic systems is addressed, as well as the possibilities
and limits of identifiying criteria by which different economic systems can
Biblical themes which for centuries have influenced the relationship between
faith and economics are reviewed, emphasizing the essential perspective that
all economic systems are to be assessed from the perspective of the poor.
While the possibility of posing universally valid and applicable economic models
is rejected, four "signposts" are identified as guiding principles
for addressing economic systems within all cultures and contexts:
- the essential goodness of the created order, and the responsibility for it entrusted to humanity;
- the innate value and freedom of each human being and of all humanity;
- God's concern, and the covenant in Christ, is with all humankind, breaking through
whatever barriers we build between us;
- the over-arching standard for interhuman relationships and behaviour is God's justice -- to be discovered through a "preferential
option for the poor".
© 2001 by Ulrich Schmitthenner