Deeper human values must reshape the post-Covid world

That was the message in an opinion piece published on the Devex website and newsletter authored by FaithInvest Chief Executive Martin Palmer, Jeroo Billimoria of Catalyst 2030 and Francois Bonnici of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

Devex is the media platform for the global development community, with an audience of over one million development professionals. The article, which is part of a focus by Devex on faith and development, said faith actors and social entrepreneurs had a 'collective and catalytic role to play' in asserting that deeper human values – not dollars, earnings or gross domestic product – should inspire systemic change post-Covid.

It called for a radical shift in attitudes and realignment of priorities, asking: 'Why are "essential workers" usually paid so little? And why is constant growth worshippped like a golden idol, even when it is often fueled by the destruction of our forests, pollution of our oceans, and irreversible damage to our life-sustaining atmosphere?'

Unfortunately, changing the establishment's mindset is a challenge. As a recent report by Catalyst 2030 noted, 'resources tend to be mobilised to shore up existing failed systems than to build new systems that work better and more equitably'.

This conservatism was also sometimes seen within the development community as well as among social entrepreneurs and faith groups, the article noted, and challenging prevailing wisdom would require moral courage: 'To build back better, we must press ahead with creativity, confidence, and humility, letting our actions and results do the heavy lifting of persuasion.'

That includes making positive choices about how we manage our investment portfolios so they are in line with our values, for example, promoting renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, educational empowerment and microloans for non-traditional entrepreneurs.

The article, which was sponsored by GHR Foundation, ends on a note that is both sober and hopeful: 'As the Talmud reminds us, we cannot let ourselves be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief, nor expect to finish the work of healing it.

'Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to do right while we can. In this time of great unraveling, the work of reweaving humanity’s single garment of destiny is ours to begin anew.'

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