“You cannot serve God and money.” Is an economy according to the gospels imaginable?

Here you have the text of the workshop I did last 29th and 30th December in the meeting of Taizé in Madrid.


The complaint: You cannot serve both God and money

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Mt. 6, 24)

This is a strong statement. Jesus doesn’t confront serving Rome and god but he is confronting money and god.

And Jesus is not the first to denounce the eagerness to be more and Wealthier. This complaint has a deep biblical roots

The Book of Sirach already denounces as it is difficult to love money and god at the same time. “The lover of gold will not be free from sin; whoever pursues money will be led astray by it.” (Sirach 31, 5)

The gospels condemn the eagerness to get richer several times. “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be.” (Luke 12, 15) “Jesus looked around at his disciples and said to them, “How hard it will be for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God!” (MC 10,23)

“Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal” (Mt 6, 19)

Saint Paul affirms that “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (TIM 6, 9-10)

Also the holy fathers insist on this idea “the love that the usurer professes to money is much more serious than the most disordered carnal love” John Chrysostom, in his homily on the letter Tito

The desire to get richer and richer dehumanizes who feels it. Avaricious people see the other as an instrument, like someone who can help or prevent their main objective, to get more and more money

the greedy person sees his neighbour, not as an end in himself, not as a person, but as an instrument to achieve its objectives

The love of money prevents us from loving God. God’s love leads us to love our neighbour. However, the love of money prevents us from loving people.

We live in a society that is focused in the eagerness to BECOME richer and richer. A society that chooses as a main objective the economic growth, and economic growth is to want our country to have always more and more production, that our country was always richer and richer

The economy has a main role in our society. Aggregated wealth is the north that guides our action. people are not the main thing, but economic growth.

The economy becomes a new religion or an ideology (which as Jordan B. Peterson claims is a degenerated religion)

The theologist Harvey Cox states how the market has the three habitual divine attributes, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence and how the economy has a language similar to the teological language

The market forces seem to be above us so not only serve for all human activity (are omnipresence) but are infallible in every fields (omniscience) and who does not follow their commands, will be punished by them (omnipotence)

The Gospels report a desire for money that dehumanizes those who follow it and when we used it to build an economic system becomes idolatry, idolatry of the market as was called by John Paul II, or idolatry of money as was called by Francisco

But does the gospels have something to say about this? Do we have a good new to give to the economy? Can we give a hope to society and tell it that a more human economy can exists?

The answer is yes, we have a good news for the economy that I will try to describe in the following minutes

break/pause FOR REFLECTION. Comment in small groups what does this initial idea look like? Do you believe that the economy is being understood as a religion? Do you believe that the world moves especially by the economy? Do you think that if the money and the profits come first, people are left aside? Comment examples that you know.

The gospels are good news for the economy.

An economy in human key can be experienced. You can enter love in the economy and that is not only possible, but desirable. It is the only way for economy to fulfills its function

In commercial relationshipthe principle of gratuitousness and the logic of gift as an expression of fraternity can and must find their place within normal economic activity. This is a human demand at the present time, but it is also demanded by economic logic. It is a demand both of charity and of truth.

The first thing is to be aware that the economy can be at the service of people and is not necessary on the contrary.

The vocation of service of the economists and the economy must be recovered. The economy is not an ideology or a religion. The economy is not above humanity. The economy is not a natural law to which we have to adapt our behaviour.

The economy can and should be in a second place, in a place of service. The economy must allow people to have enough to live with dignity

The key to do it is in the economic message of our main prayer, “our father”. We don’t Ask to have ever more among all. To be richer and richer but we ask him to “Give us this day our daily bread”

This is a poetic way of saying that we want everyone to have enough to live

The good news of the gospels give us this path, the objective of the economy at a personal level and at the community level is to have enough to live

To conform us with what we need is to put the economy to the service of the person. Thanks to the resources that the economy provides us, we can live with dignity and develop our humanity. The economy supports our life

Changing this objective also allows us that the economy takes care of the creation and do not try to exploit it. Nature is not only our service, but we are responsible for it. We must take care of it, conserve it and make it bear fruit.

For this reason, we need fields, gardens, forests, farms, not agricultural exploitations, forest exploitations or livestock exploitations

Nature is not an infinite source of resources that we have to exploit to have more and more production, but a gift of god that we have received and that we have to care for. Nature allows us to live with enough to us and to the future generations.

If we want to go in this direction, the economic relationship should not be based on competition, on the contraposition of interests, but on reciprocity, on mutual aid, on collaboration.

An exchange is not a selfish activity, but an opportunity for the relationship. An opportunity for both sides to relate to each other and achieve mutual benefit

that’s why love is not foreign to economic activity, but it can and should be at the center of the economy. Thus allowing community to be created, collaboration to be created and common good to be built.

The economy allows us to approach the other, to live a relationship of reciprocity with our neighbour in which we give and receive each other and we obtain mutual benefit.

The gospels offer us that way of love that serves, improves and perfects any human activity, also the economic one.

In this sense, the sharing that is shown to us in the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and the logic of the gift, of giving without expecting anything in return, appear as privileged instruments of an economy at the service of people.

The evangelical keys to build that new economy are five

FIRST: to put the economy in its place at the service of people

SECOND: Change the objective to seek that everyone has enough to live with dignity

THIRD: Establish a relationship of care with the creation

FOURTH: Understanding the economy as an opportunity for relationship enhancing reciprocity and mutual aid.

FIFTH: Strengthen the sharing and logic of gift as intrinsic elements to the economic activity

break/pause FOR REFLECTION. in small groups find examples of the economy lived with one of these five keys.

How to realize the good news of the gospels in the economy

to change the economic system and to redirect the economy in another direction is not an easy or quick task. But it is not impossible. We need patience, courage and a lot of work to get it done

You must be aware that anything valuable and good in life is difficult and costly. Nothing that is really important can be obtained without effort.

We can say that it is possible understand the economy in an evangelical way and this is a sign of hope for the economy. We have a good news to give to the economic world

We, Christians trust god and we have his strength to transform the creation and build the reign of god on earth. We, Christians, can and must be the group that show and demonstrate to the world that the economy can be filled with love and put at the service of the people

We can make strength to build that most human economy that our society needs.

To get it I will give you some clues of concrete and feasible roads that can lead us to redirect the economy in the desired direction.

In the first place, go beyond the quality-price relationship. We have to ally ourselves with the other part of the exchange, So that the purchase or the sale is a moment of relationship of reciprocity, of mutual gains

We are interested in the other part of the exchange. We want to know what is beyond the price, if the seller or the producer pays good wages, if they care for the creation, if they generate wealth in their areas. We buy responsibly because we want to collaborate in building a better world.

My second clue is that we have to learn to SETTLE FOR good enough We have not to expect to win more and more money. It is better to be frugal in our economic aspirations. We have to look for just enough to live with dignity.

We have to do this, not only as families or persons, but also as a society. We cannot expect to grow in a unlimited way. We must be aware that this is impossible. We must to change our economic objective and we have to put aside economic growth

Organizing the society to follow this economic objective supposes to recognize the different functions of the public and private sectors, and to put both to work together and to collaborate from their own nature in the achievement of the common good.

This change should also be introduced in the companies. We should lay aside the companies whose major priority is the achievement of maximum benefits and we should promote the companies that prioritize their social function and put the benefit to the service of this social function

The social function of a company prioritizes three issues. First. Produce useful goods and services for society and establish relationships of reciprocity and mutual trust with its clients.

Second: build an organization where the people are the main. An organization that allows their members to get enough income to have a decent life, An organization that allows its members to be more and better persons and to collaborate in the construction of a better world through their work in the company.

Third: the social function implies that business cares for creation and creates wealth and development in the area in which the company is located. It is, therefore, a development factor in its workplace.

Christian economists we have, moreover, the responsibility of building a new economic paradigm that gives theoretical support to a more humane economy in which people are at the center of their performance instead of profits and riches

Summarizing, we need families that live their consumption and their economic day in a different way. Families that seek only what is necessary to live a decent life, with an economic mentality of good enough.

We need companies that put their profitability to the service of their social function. Companies that change their mentality

We need politicians who build an structure of society simple and easy for those who are changing their mentality in this direction, and complicated and difficult for those who support the selfish economy

We need economist that teach and study an economy of gratuity, love and reciprocity. Economist with other mentality.

All of us together, we can promote this economy in evangelical key and build the reign of God in the earth. This is a way to improve and leave the creation in better situation in which we found it.

It is a difficult work, that precise of brave people, it is not going to be achieved in leaps and bounds or in two daysthat needs a lot of time, a lot of patience. But It’s worthwhile work

Even thouch we are minority now, we are a minority with a majority vocation, because we believe that this transformation of the economy is good for everyone. We want to extend the good news of the gospels to the economy and to put the economy to the service of the common good.



Cada vez más endeudados

Artículo publicado en la revista Noticias Obreras, de Septiembre de 2018, nº 1609 Pág: 12 y 13

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Una de las estrategias que han servido para salir de la crisis en la que estamos ha sido el endeudamiento. Endeudarse puede producir crecimiento económico y este parece que ha sido el camino elegido por las principales autoridades económicas mundiales para lograr la recuperación de la senda de crecimiento mundial. Las bajadas de tipos de interés propiciadas por los bancos centrales no hacen más que confirma resta afirmación.

Si alguien se pregunta cómo es posible que el endeudamiento produzca crecimiento, el mecanismo para lograrlo se puede entender con un ejemplo sencillo. Supongamos que alguien quiere montar una actividad económica en su barrio como una casa de comidas para llevar, que permita a sus vecinos no tener que cocinar y al inversor ganarse la vida con un trabajo honrado. Consideremos que esta persona no tiene el suficiente ahorro para poder alquilar el local, adecuarlo, comprar la maquinaria adecuada y asumir todos los gastos que supone la puesta en marcha de la actividad, por lo que recurre a un banco que le presta el dinero para hacerlo. Ya tenemos el endeudamiento y la posibilidad real de montar su casa de comidas preparadas y asumir todos los gastos que esta puesta en marcha genera.

Si, siguiendo con nuestro ejemplo, esta persona acierta y hace unas buenas comidas que comienzan a ser apreciadas por sus vecinos que, poco a poco, dejan de cocinar algunos días para comprar los magníficos menús que prepara nuestra emprendedora, el endeudamiento ha creado una nueva actividad, tal vez algún puesto de trabajo, y ha generado un crecimiento económico en el barrio ya que dinero que antes, probablemente, se iba a comprar fuera de él o al ahorro, pasa a ser gastado en producción del lugar. Si a esto añadimos que el dinero que entra en circulación se mueve donde antes no lo había, vemos como esa nueva inversión proveniente de un endeudamiento no solo produce crecimiento gracias a esta actividad, sino gracias a lo que compran sus dueño y sus trabajadores que no hubiesen ganado si no hubiesen montado esta casa de comidas.

En este caso el cuento acaba bien, porque la actividad ha sido un éxito y esto le permite a la persona endeudada devolver el préstamos recibido y al mismo tiempo pagar los intereses que le ha cargado el banco. Cuando lo hace ya no genera crecimiento, pero seguro que habrá otro que lo haga con el dinero que devuelve. Este proceso entra dentro del funcionamiento normal de cualquier economía desarrollada y es necesario que existan estas posibilidades de crédito para permitir que las personas puedan adquirir bienes caros (como una casa o un automóvil) o para que puedan tener actividades en las que ganarse la vida.

Sin embargo, lo que estamos observando ahora es que el endeudamiento a nivel mundial está creciendo de una manera constante. En estos momentos tenemos una deuda acumulada a nivel mundial que supone un 318% del tamaño de la producción anual mundial (es decir, por cada euro que se produce en todo el mundo, se deben 3,18). Para tener una referencia, hace 15 años (antes de la crisis) este porcentaje era de un 248% y hay que recordar que durante la crisis el endeudamiento decreció. Cuando todos se endeudan al mismo tiempo el efecto de promoción del crecimiento a corto plazo es considerable pero puede convertirse en un parón a medio o a largo plazo. Si todos pedimos prestado para construir carreteras, comprar bienes, montar negocios, enviar a nuestros hijos a estudiar, etc. En el momento en el que esto está sucediendo, el crecimiento económico es elevado ya que se producen muchos bienes y servicios que no se harían si no hubiese existido este endeudamiento. Ahora bien, si igual que todos se endeudan al mismo tiempo para poder provocar este crecimiento, todos devuelven sus deudas coordinadamente, cuando esto está sucediendo ya no se da tanto crecimiento económico, porque los agentes económicos tienen que utilizar fondos para devolver en lugar de para adquirir otros bienes y servicios.

Además, si la parada del crecimiento es acusada, puede darse que algunos tengan problemas para devolver esos préstamos, ya que, como en el caso del ejemplo con el que abríamos el artículo, para poder devolver y pagar los intereses, necesitamos que nuestra inversión funcione bien y genere ingresos suficientes. No hay más que recordar como muchas de las empresas que quebraron en la anterior crisis eran compañías que funcionaban bien, que tenían más ingresos que gastos, pero que debido a un elevado endeudamiento adquirido durante los años de bonanza, tenían unos beneficios insuficientes para hacer frente a los pagos de sus respectivas deudas y finalmente tuvieron que cerrar por no poder pagarlas.

Lo que estamos viendo es que la necesidad de crecimiento nos lleva a un círculo vicioso que genera ciclos económicos. Por un lado, para crecer necesitamos endeudarnos constantemente y que este endeudamiento sea cada vez mayor. Solo la movilización de nuevos recursos permite ese crecimiento que ansiamos. Por otro, para que ese endeudamiento sea sostenible precisamos que exista crecimiento económico, porque sin él no podemos devolver lo que hemos pedido prestado. Entramos así en una doble adición. Por un lado tenemos una economía adicta al endeudamiento porque sin este no podemos crecer, y por otro tenemos una adición al crecimiento porque sin este entraríamos en otra crisis financiera por la imposibilidad de devolver los créditos pedidos.

La salida de nuestra anterior crisis está realizándose a través de los mecanismos que la provocaron, es decir, entrando en una espiral de endeudamiento y crecimiento, que se retroalimenta ya que ambos se necesitan para poder mantener esta dinámica. Si el endeudamiento tiene como finalidad principal actividades realmente productivas, podremos tener unos años en los que el crecimiento se mantenga. Pero si este endeudamiento se destina, no a actividades de producción, sino a actividades financieras que produzcan inflación en el precio de algunos activos financieros (tal y como sucedió en las crisis precedentes), no debemos albergar dudas de que volveremos a tener otra crisis más pronto o más tarde, o una recaída de la que tenemos tan reciente.

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Presentación en Alicante de Análisis y Perspectivas Comunidad Valenciana 2018

Hoy lunes 10 de Diciembre a las 20:00 horas presentaremos en Alicante el informe: “Política social y exclusión severa. Análisis y Perspectivas Comunitat Valenciana 2018”. Será en la Fundación Caja Mediterráneo. En el Aula de Cultura Alicante (Avd. Dr. Gadea 1)


Cartel análisis y perspectivas 2018

Os espero allí

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Publicado por en diciembre 10, 2018 en pobreza, Privación



Paseos para hacer en compañía

Acaba de publicarse en la web el nuevo cuaderno de Ética en Clave Cotidiana: Paseos para hacer en compañía

En esta ocasión José Luis Pareja nos invita a pasear con él en cuatro temas éticos de plena actualidad: La Ética y la Moral, la Familia, los Hijos y las Personas Mayores


Os invito a sumergiros en su lectura.

Lo puedes descargar en:

Si lo prefieres en papel, puedes comparlo en:


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Publicado por en diciembre 4, 2018 en Conceptos básicos



Política social y exclusión severa. Análisis y Perspectivas Comunitat Valenciana 2018

Ya tenemos a vuestra disposición el informe “Política social y exclusión severa. Análisis y Perspectivas Comunitat Valenciana 2018”.


Si queréis más información sobre el informe con un resumen del mismo, podéis encontrarlo en

Podéis descargar en PDF el Informe “Análisis y perspectivas Comunitat Valenciana 2018. Política social y exclusión severa” en:

Aquí tenéis algunas de las repercusiones en medios del informe:

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Publicado por en noviembre 29, 2018 en pobreza



Presentación de Análisis y perspectivas Comunitat Valenciana 2018. Política social y exclusión severa.

El martes 27 de Noviembre a las 19:00 en el Palacio de Colomina presentamos el informe anual Análisis y perspectivas Comunitat Valenciana 2018. Política social y exclusión severa que confeccionamos desde el Observatorio de Investigación sobre Pobreza y Exclusión de la Comunidad Valenciana.


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Publicado por en noviembre 26, 2018 en pobreza, Privación



Los impuestos como contribución al bien común

Acabamos de publicar el segundo documento del Foro Creyente de Pensamiento Ético Económico titulado “Los impuestos como contribución al bien común”.

Tenéis la nota de prensa con un resumen del documento en el siguiente enlace:

Podéis descargar el documento en:

Y aquí tenéis un video-resumen de su contenido

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Publicado por en noviembre 20, 2018 en Estado Social