August 6, 2019


Although there is no Bahá’í economic model, the principles of the Faith are starting to take root in the economic arena worldwide. For example, a little over a year ago, an international team of three Bahá’ís – Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur Lyon Dahl and Maja Groff – received USD 600,000 for winning the coveted New Shape Prize. This is the largest competition of its kind, which seeks improved models of global governance of catastrophic risks. It is an incredibly competitive award, receiving 2,702 entries from 122 countries. This winning proposal is titled Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st century. Among its many recommendations, the new model includes a more equitable funding mechanism for the UN budget.

The writings of the Faith abound with references that can provide inspiration for those seeking the establishment of a more just economic order. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Faith, tells us to seek to be sources of social good: “And the honour and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world's multitudes should become a source of social good.” Furthermore, the international governing council of the Bahá’í Faith invites us to redefine the worth of individuals beyond material considerations: “To view the worth of an individual chiefly in terms of how much one can accumulate and how many goods one can consume relative to others is wholly alien to Bahá'í thought.”[1] In the same message, it invites us to not shy away from involvement in economic life: “Economic life is an arena for the expression of honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, generosity, and other qualities of the spirit.”

They include:

• The elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty
• The equality of women and men in all aspects of life
• The establishment of a system of world governance to assist in the just distribution and management of resources
• Viewing man as a spiritual being, motivated by the enhancement of its material and spiritual growth
• Work should be performed in a spirit of service, and must find constant expression in service to humanity
• The moral duty to lead a coherent life
• The decision-making process of Bahá’í consultation

To learn more about these principles and the Bahá’í Faith, please consult the Baha’is of Canada website. Moreover, ebbf, a Bahá’í-inspired network, also has some resources on how to apply Bahá’í principles in business.

"Man's merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches… Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavours be spent in promoting your personal interest." - Bahá’u’lláh -

[1] Universal House of Justice, March 1, 2017 message to the Bahá’ís of the world

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