Message of Hope to transform Greed

Voices on Structural Greed

interview to Luigino Bruni published on lutheranworld.org, october 13, 2011

Logo_Lutheran_org_2More than 40 delegates, including a dozen Muslims, church officials, economists and secular social activists met at the end of September 2011 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to address the question of structural greed.

Dr Luigino Bruni, professor of political economy at the University of Milan, Italy, and member of the FOCOLARE movement, was one of the participants at the Department for Theology and Studies consultation.

What were your expectations of this event?

My expectations of this event were very high because I think that at this moment of crisis religions have something new to say. This crisis is not simply a financial and economic crisis but an anthropological and ethical crisis. As during any crisis, the most precious reserve is usually the ethical one because ethics provide a deep motivation for action, the will to start something new. At this moment of crisis, what we lack particularly in Europe is an enthusiasm for starting new economic enterprises, because we are generally lacking an enthusiasm for life.

What have you learned from this event?

I have met very interesting people doing things related to my activity that are new to me. I met new perspectives on the economy from the Lutheran, Muslim and Eastern traditions. I leave this meeting with the deep hope that if we are united as religions at this moment of crisis then we can say something important to the world.

How can Christians and Muslims help one another to live lives less touched by the structures of greed?

The first help is dialogue in order better to understand the other’s point of view. In today’s world, there is a deep rooted sense of distrust of and lack of confidence in both Christian and Islamic cultures. To spend time in understanding one another is the first step. We need to form new sorts of alliances showing how there are new spheres of the economy emerging in both Islamic and Christian contexts such as the economy of communion, fair trade, etc. We need to show that there is a new vitality of civil society in both contexts. Moreover, it is vital that religion counteracts pessimistic approaches and brings a positive message. We must bring a message of hope, showing that we envision a new world. Together we can transform structures of greed into structures of grace.

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