Dr. Richard Kirby
This statement was delivered by Rev. Richard S. Kirby, PhD., International Chairperson of the World Network of Religious Futurists on September 4, 1998, in view of the financial crisis in Russia.
I write these words on behalf of my colleagues, scholars in the future of religion and society.
Russia is going through birth-pangs on behalf of the whole world economy. Here is an opportunity for financial 'wizards,' political economists, managers of stock markets, 'ordinary' investors and entrepreneurs to liberate their moral vision - and make a better world of money. It is time for prosperity to be profoundly linked to world health.
Join us today, religionists everywhere, in creating a better world, a world of better money. Money is a social invention, a unit of exchange, a unit of value, a store of wealth--but it is also a vehicle for moral energies.
The world is moving from the gold-standard underpinning of money, to God-standard. The scholars of the 'Ideal Philosophy' are able to demonstrate that the ethical is the excellent, and both are the economic. The infinite wealth of the divine nature, the supreme Source of all, is reclaiming a lost world of culture: finance. Russia and its recent problems of currency devaluation and economic chaos is a herald of a new world of money, coming fast into the world financial markets.
It is easy game for ethicists to denounce the greed, wickedness or unjustness of the global economy, to rail against self-centered financial organizations or to inveigh against multi-millionaires who seem to have a predatory interest in the affairs of nations, who seem to be poised like vultures over the carcasses of failing banks and Treasuries.
But our message is not one of condemnation, nor even of disappointment with the global economy. Rather, our message is one of invitation, and excitement at the emerging possibilities for religious, spiritual and ethical communities to express monetary genius--immediately.
Today I leave for Russia, to teach in Kursk, visit academics in Moscow and work with John and Dick Spady to help our Russian colleagues form a Youth Futurist Academy. The idealism and innocence of youth, the energies and freedom, the availability and plasticity of youth are powers to fuel the birthing of a finance of hope, faith and love.
Our circles have spent years studying the ideal foundations of economic thought, together with the ethical powers and capacities of religious congregations. Whether a community of worship or ideal living is a congregation, a mosque, an ashram, a gurdwara, or a secular society of ethical living, the group which is that community is a community of character.
It is also a community of innovation, for it is correlated with, it is rooted in, the Transcendent Goodness of the Higher Life. A community of worship is a community of creativity. A financial community of worship is a laboratory of new money, a 'Money Lab'.
In the crisis of economic transformation which is Mother Russia's at present, there is the opportunity for new circles of integration to be formed: the Russian Orthodox Church, the economic intelligentsia, the ordinary citizen, the artists and visionaries for which Russia is so famous [Pushkin, Roerich, Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy, to name only a few from an illustrious past], the captains of industry, the mass media. Wealth is coming to Russia in a new way.
In this communique, we invite all religious congregations - in Russia or in any land, for the world is one--all societies for ethical living or the higher life, all communities of worship or 'ideal living' organizations to join us in announcing a birth, the birth of a new world of money. "Good money" is being born world wide; better money, the best money, is coming fast.
With my own students I am designing a Stock Exchange of the Future, which will link ethics and excellence, and show how financial entrepreneurs can make altruism a source of great wealth, and of financial innovation. Meanwhile, elsewhere our team works with senior citizens to help them to be proactive as entrepreneurs governing their own financial destiny.
We celebrate a new world aborning. We celebrate God's power to 'intervene in the markets': we join the Psalmist of ancient times in saying that we declare the glory of God among the nations, we declare the marvelous deeds of God among all peoples. God is making a new world of money: let the earth be glad (Psalms 96-7). God is making a new Russia and a new earth: let us share in it, and 'sing a new song unto the Lord'.
|© 1998-2010 by World Network of Religious Futurists