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Sustainability, Faith, and the Market

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Although sustainability is a growing concern of business today, there has been little progress toward a sustainable future. This is because the idea of sustainability in academic and policy debates is too small and too beholden to the assumptions that have created today's environmental and development crises. Consequently, calls for reform have neither the vision nor the authority to sustain the relationships of self, society, and environment that define human life. Reaching beyond our profession of business management to our Christian faith, we argue for a bigger idea of sustainability that orients these relationships to God. We identify sustainability with four principles of Christian theology—which we label anthropic, relational, ethical, and divine love—and we link economic development with eight principles of Catholic social doctrine—which the Church labels unity and meaning, common good, universal destination, subsidiarity, participation, solidarity, social values, and love. This bigger idea of sustainability transforms talk about the future from a gloomy contentiousness rooted in fear to a bright cooperation rooted in hope.

Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan


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