Ethics in a global economy – summary
Ethics in a global economy was a timely seminar, held on Wednesday 29 th
October, to explore faith perspectives on business ethics, at the level both of
the global economy and the individual workplace.
Participants i n the seminar called for a shared faiths perspective on the credit
crunch to be developed and Faiths in London’s Economy (FiLE), the
organisers of the event, undertook to facilitate that work.
The seminar was held at the St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconci liation and
Peace and was based on the understanding that the global economy operates
in a multi-faith world which continually raises ethical issues for individuals and
Contributors to the event included:
Dr Edmund Newell (Director, St Paul’s Institute) who gave a brief
summary of the development of the banking system and of the growth
of credit within the economy. He went on to speak about the
importance of the credit crunch being used as an opportunity for
reflection across the global economy and within which faith
communities have a valuable contribution to make.
Jay Lakhani (Head, Hindu Academy) spoke about the positive teaching
in most faiths towards the world of work but said that constraints of
legitimacy and appropriateness should be applied in the workplace. He
highlighted the needs of those in the two-thirds world whose
experience was consistently one of poverty and called for any period of
reflection to be one that takes account of the needs of such people.
Alison Murdoch (Director, Essential Education) who highlighted 16
guidelines for life and helped participants apply these to real life ethical
issues in their workplaces through an interactive exercise. The 16
guidelines are based on a profound but practical text from 7 th century
Tibet and cover: How we think; How we act; How we relate to thers;
and How we find meaning.
Saif Ahmad (CEO, Muslim Aid) who encouraged those present to be
the people to drive this agenda and these issues forward from a faiths
perspective. He said that he strongly believed that Isaiah 58 is a great
social statement which can transcend all racial, ethnic and religious
barriers in the UK and beyond and would appreciate this statement
becoming the manifesto for all faith leaders who sign up for the shared
faiths perspective on the credit crunch.
Justine Huxley, St Ethelberga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, said:
“I felt it was a valuable first conversation and the speakers created an
interesting range of perspectives. I hope we can do some kind of follow up to
this. It would be good to start the ball rolling and help get a multi-faith
response to this more widely heard.”
Revd. Jonathan Evens, Chair of FiLE, said:
“FiLE is seeking to foster a more creative engagement between faith
communities and employers. In facilitating a shared response across faiths to
the issues raised by the credit crunch we will seek to demonstrate that faith
can be put to work in work to bring real creativity and change.”
Additional comments received following the seminar include:
"Thank you for a really well organised and interesting event with good
speakers and discussion."
"I certainly received the impression the seminar was greatly
appreciated by everyone present and am convinced we will be able to
build on it as we begin to plan our next seminar together."
"I was very impressed with the contribution from the rest of the group.
This country has given many good things to the rest of the world like
(as Ed remarked) the Banking system. Yet people in this country do not
recognise the even greater concept they posses - dignifying humanity -
this concept too needs to be globalised. What we may do in a small
group can become the catalyst to do this."
"I hope you were encouraged by today - I thought it went very well and
had an interesting mix of people and contributers. I particularly valued
the exercise we participated in on the 16 core values. I can talk for the
UK in the Olympics but always gain massively from those sort of
“I believe that if we work together to restore the appropriate role of
Faith Communities in the economic agenda, it will take us forward in
the UK and globally. I firmly believe that our current Archbishop is a
very inspiring spiritual leader, whom I have great admiration and
respect for. I would suggest that we alert him of our initiative to seek
his blessing and support.”
“Excellent that the responses are really positive, and I think that just
reflects the genuine keenness from participants to work together in
some way to take this forward and ensure that 'faith' has a real voice
on the current credit crunch and a future way forward. The opportunity
that the crisis gives is a good time to start to work together so would be
very pleased to be part of a round table discussion, if you would like
me to be involved.”
“I too thought the event went well and was very stimulating.
Congratulations on reaping such positive benefits from so much hard
labour! Thank you very much for allowing me to be part of such an
interesting event, which I found personally most stimulating and
One thing which clearly emerged from the seminar was a call for a shared
faiths perspective on the credit crunch to be developed and therefore FiLE
has undertaken to try to facilitate that process. An initial meeting, to begin
discussing ideas for a shared faiths statement on the credit crunch, has been
organised for Wednesday 3rd December from 4.00pm. St Ethelberga's have
offered to host the meeting.
Please let Jonathan Evens know whether you will be able to come and, if not,
whether you would be interested in contributing to the development of this
Jonathan can be contacted on:
Tel: 020 8599 2170