Preview Response

Virtues / Business

Ian Harper

Dean and Director of the Melbourne Business School

Co-Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne

Member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia


I very much enjoyed reading Jennifer’s Preview of The Virtues.

I related most directly to her discussion in the context of my work as a public policy economist.  Here I regularly bump up against the limits of purely technical analysis and reach for (primarily) the cardinal virtues in making a decision, for example, about the setting of interest rates or minimum wages.  It’s one thing to interpret the predictions/forecasts of formal models but quite another to discern what is just or prudent, let alone courageous! And, of course, the Christian virtues overarch my thinking as I pray about how best to love my neighbour in applying the technical discipline of economics to reaching virtuous, i.e., loving, hopeful and charitable, public policy decisions.