2011 Catherwood Lecture: Money, Magic, Greed and the Power of Illusions

Money, Magic, Greed and the Power of Illusions:

A Christian Critique of our time

The 2011 Catherwood Lecture was given by Bob Goudzwaard on 1 December 2011. Economics is a major issue of our time. The economic system operates at an international level. Each one of us is also part of the system as consumers or investors. As Christians we should be actively considering one of the most pervasive aspects of our world. Bob Goudzwaard brought a Christian critique of our current economic situation. Philip McDonagh, a local economist with over 30 years experience and currently a Charity Commissioner, gave a response to Bob's lecture from the local perspective. Click below to hear the lecture and the response: The text of the lecture can be downloaded by clicking here: Catherwood_2011_text   Bob Goudzwaard is professor emeritus at the Free University in Amsterdam. He was elected to the Dutch Parliament in the 1970s and served for a time in a Christian policy research institute in The Hague. He is the author of numerous books including ‘Idols of Our Time’, ‘Capitalism and Progress’ and ‘Hope in Troubled Times'.

The Other Side

Earlier this month shortly after his installation, the new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church was criticized for using the term “the other side” when referring to Sinn Fein in his first interview on Good Morning Ulster. I don’t want to add to the criticism, as I have never appeared on that programme without a script in front of me. But the phrase “the other side” cuts deep into the nature of politics in this province. and perhaps the fundamental form of politics that we have in modern western democracy. Continue reading

On being counted – or standing up to be counted

The workings of Government are very closely interwoven with the gospel story. Tax collectors and soldiers, courts and politics are all there. Did you ever think what the Christmas story would have been like if Caesar Augustus had not decided to hold a census? No journey to Bethlehem and no stable, for a start. In the wider Bible, censuses are regarded with some suspicion, as a symptom of people placing their trust in human strength rather than in God, and in more modern times, they are often regarded as intrusive prying by the state. They are, nonetheless, incredibly valuable tools for understanding society and hence for making sure that government plans bear some resemblance to the real world. Continue reading

Something is better than nothing …

For many years, I taught in the American Studies Program on Capitol Hill, an interdisciplinary semester of study focused on nurturing in undergraduates the vision and virtues required to take up vocations in the public square. Formed by a deeply wrought understanding of Christian responsibility, the curriculum centred upon an exploration of the themes of truth, justice, shalom, and hope, set amidst concrete, contemporary policy debates ranging from welfare reform to Middle East politics. Continue reading

‘It’s the economy, so it is.’

For many years Bill Clinton's dictum ‘it’s the economy stupid’ was superseded in local politics by ‘it’s the constitution stupid’. The constitutional question in large part determined which party a voter chose. Thankfully that issue seems to have been settled, at least for the time being, and the economy is now assuming centre stage. While Labour and Conservative argue over whether British society is broken there is general agreement that the economy is broken. Signs are that it may be precariously balanced on the verge of recovery but we are warned there will be hard times ahead. Continue reading