A bit more integrated …

I’ve been building this ‘new’ site for almost a year now, posting (very) intermittently, and uploading much of the content from my old site, as well as updating it. The focus has mainly been on economics, development, climate change and sustainability, under the banner of ‘integrated development’. But I realise I’d left out a whole area – that of spirituality and religion. I’m not sure why really – it’s such a critical area of life for most of the world’s people. It shapes cultures, countries and geopolitics. As my friend Matthew Clarke points out in his new book Development and Religion, when development agencies ignore religion, they ignore a fundamental part of what is important to local communities and societies.

Spirituality and religion is also deeply personal of course, and it was also a core part of my own journey, having studied theology in my 20s. Over the past few years that importance had been fading for me for various reasons, but now, to my great surprise, it has surged back into my consciousness, both for my own personal journey and also its relevance and importance for eradicating poverty, and shifting to an ecologically sustainable economic path.

So I’ve added a new static page on Spirituality, which I’ll update periodically. I welcome suggestions for resources and links. I’ll also start making my posts a bit more diverse than the purely ‘professional’ stuff on economics, climate change etc, which, let’s be honest, can be a bit dry at times. Hopefully this broader approach will make this site a bit more reflective of a truly integrated development policy research agenda.

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3 thoughts on “A bit more integrated …

  1. Kate

    Hey Brett,
    Wow – big move for an Australian public intellectual to discuss spirituality in terms of religion. This is much more interesting and worthy of discussion than Magda S’ sexuality! Thanks for improving my day.
    I have already had to answer questions about why I think religion is an important factor in social network analysis of poor communities. I will read MCs book.

  2. Kel Currah

    I agree that development must take into to account what motivates a d drives people and that includes non-judgemental consideration of spiritually: too often economics and planning miss the human element. It does mean you have one of the more eclectic subject banner: economic theory, econometrics, spirituality. Well done Brett

  3. John Altmann

    Hi Brett,

    Although I don’t have much time for donor funded (un)sustainable aid projects that create dependencies (despite the rhetoric and theory) I do find the work of Tony Rinaudo at World Vision Australia quite inspiring. He has a proven method of re-greening Africa and increasing food security times over with one simple intervention into the complex and abundant creation God has given us. Just regenerate the trees that are battling away at survival and watch the virtuous cycle begin – birds, nitrogen droppings, soil fixation wind breaks and greater crop yields alongside natural carbon pollution reduction. Given that this can be taught and caught by communities of African farmers themselves, this is one major sustainable intervention worth funding education about.

    I’m sure that you’ve probably read some of the peer reviewed articles about his work and could post us a link to the best summary.

    This one form of responsible dominion over the creation God has given us that fits right in with his mandate for humanity to “till it and guard it”. It also produces increased productivity which has to be at the root of eradicating extreme poverty, not just western guilt.

    I assume that God’s abundant creation plus human ingenuity applied with generosity is the Old testament recipe for alleviating poverty. I think this is exemplified in the picture of the industrious/ingenious wife of Proverbs 31 who is prepared for the disasters that might beset her in the natural world and still has enough to be generous to others in need.

    That’s enough for today. Lots of love,
    John Altmann

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