Repairing our Stewardship of Creation: Abrahamic Social Thought and the Global Economic Crisis
In July 2010, as part of the Caux Round Table, Dr. David Miller joined 11 other scholars from the three Abrahamic faith traditions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - to the organization's birthplace in Caux, Switzerland. The scholars hosted a dialogue to discern and discuss core themes on social questions as a framework for assessing and responding to the global economic crisis that is affecting people, businesses, communities, and other institutions.
The product of their dialogue was The Mountain House Statement. This Mountain House Statement is significant because, for the first time, it combines the resources of the Abrahamic faith into a unified and constructive approach at a time when conflict and divisiveness among and within these faiths are so sadly prevalent.
Second, this Mountain House Statement is significant because it derives from the Abrahamic traditions very practical lessons for the conduct of finance and business.
These lessons are:
- Acceptance of limitations - that whatsoever we seek to do must be approached with humility.
- Acting always as a fiduciary - we are, each one of us, stewards of creation, duty bound to be constructive and not selfishly exploitative.
- Since power and wealth divert us from responsible conduct, great power and great wealth dramatically increase the risks of business and financial failure from cupidity, negligence, and arrogance.
- Religious conscience offsets the risks attendant upon power and wealth so religious faith should be present in economic and financial undertakings to ensure their long-term success
About Caux Round Table
Founded in 1986, The Caux Round Table (CRT) is an international network of principled business leaders working to promote a moral capitalism. The CRT advocates implementation of the CRT Principles for Business through which principled capitalism can flourish and sustainable and socially responsible prosperity can become the foundation for a fair, free and transparent global society.
The Caux Round Table believes that the world business community should play an important role in improving economic and social conditions. Through an extensive and collaborative process in 1994, business leaders developed the CRT Principles for Business to embody the aspiration of principled business leadership.
The CRT Principles for Business are a worldwide vision for ethical and responsible corporate behavior and serve as a foundation for action for business leaders worldwide. As a statement of aspirations, the CRT Principles aim to express a world standard against which business behavior can be measured.
Mountain House Statement Executive Summary
The major Abrahamic faith traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) offer a robust framework for improving the global economic system as it begins its third year of recovery from the September 2008 collapse of credit markets.
This is the conclusion of an interfaith group of scholars in theology and corporate social responsibility, listed below. They were convened in July 2010 by the Caux Round Table (an international organization of business leaders promoting global standards for organizational integrity and responsibility as part of a more moral capitalism), Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington DC and member of the Caux Round Table World Advisory Council, Prof. Ronald Thiemann, former Dean of the Harvard Divinity School and member of the Caux Round Table World Advisory Council, and Prof. Ibrahim Zein, Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization and Caux Round Table adviser.
The discussions at Mountain House in Caux, Switzerland, were productive and encouraging, culminating in the Mountain House Statement below urging these three traditions to promote principled and sustainable global markets.
While recognizing the distinctive theological differences of the Abrahamic traditions, the Mountain House Statement emphasizes significant resonances among their social teachings as a basis for cooperation in addressing economic, political, interpersonal and spiritual challenges in the global marketplace.