Matt Ridley – Beyond the Rational

Some food for thought. What do you think? How should this inform how we go about trying to alleviate poverty through marketplace mechanisms?


Filed under Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets

6 responses to “Matt Ridley – Beyond the Rational

  1. Gareth Lewis

    Very thought provoking – not just for those in poverty but for me too. What do I outsource and what do I rely on myself to do? From doing my tax to designing my web site to mowing my lawn – each is a discretionary decision.

    Teaching ourselves and others to specialise, to be “more and more narrow in our work”, to focus on our gifts and callings encourages us to rely on others.

    Relevant scripture verse: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all”.

    Now to go to the local market to pick up that latest design hand-axe.

    • Hey, Gareth – For me, it put me in mind of the diversity of gifts (as you noted) but also the economic advantage of decentralization. With everyone a specialist, productive efficiency grows hand-in-hand with interdependence. I found it in a blog post my daughter had linked to on her Facebook account and it just struck me that this little two and a half minute video held far more wisdom than might appear on the surface. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Yes, absolutely true. However, is such narrow specialization good for the individual? Are gone the Renaissance Men? Are we all “narrow idiots”?

    While we are blessed with special gifts, I think we should enjoy more of all, and of all the things in the world.

    Do we give more glory to God by being an expert at one thing? Not if our only purpose in doing so is to make more money. If its end is to give Him glory, it’s all good. We need to aim everything in our lives to that end.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • You ask a very good question re should we all be such narrow specialists? I think the answer is “obviously not,” but that when we specialize are we not like Huram of Tyre (1 Kings 7:13) who created the bronze work for the Temple and not more likely to fulfill Proverbs 22:29 – “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure (unknown) men.” It takes years of practice and discipline to be expert in anything and the opportunity for such specialization is not only a personally rewarding career prospect but advantageous to the whole community: think of the master furniture maker or stone mason who we depend upon for creating lasting quality to enhance the quality of our lives. I think, as with most “rules,” the idea of specialization may be taken too far but perhaps we can look at the generalist as Friedman looked at the “globalist” in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, or perhaps consider those who bridge diverse disciplines, connecting them in interdisciplinary ways, as specialists in their own right.

  3. The thesis is one of great value and worthy of deep consideration. The concept of “unity” in todays world has been discussed and touted much more than actually investigated. The “creative unity” found in creation has had a profound impact on all things, yet the Churches and para-Church organizations throughout the world have largely ignored it. Within the thesis the people of God could find truth at a much deeper level, should they choose to set aside their “ergo-centric” perspectives and come together the way we are instructed within the word of God.

    I imagine a much different impact on more than the impoverished world and the individual fruit of various specialized ministries than we now see, should “creative unity” become a central theme and actual practice. If just a handful of para-Church ministries and Churches could set aside 10% of their energies and efforts and see “beyond themselves” and then practice true “creative unity” for an extended period of time, the world would have a different opinion of the Church and the followers of Jesus. “Let us press on to the upward calling of Christ Jesus” together!

    • Amen, Dan. This unity, I think, can be served enormously in many of the ecumenical endeavors taking place in contexts of marketplace ministry. If we, the Church, can work together as witness in the marketplace, getting ourselves in tune with godly economics, the power of that witness will astonish even those of us pursuing Christ in this way. If we perform at even a marginal success rate in these endeavors, the world will take notice because we are speaking to one of the most powerful idols, money, they worship.

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