4 October 2017

Scheme of the Program

The morning program of ERGO Xtra (blocks A and B) is in Dutch. The afternoon program (blocks C and D) is in English:


13:00 – 14.00

Block C: Moral Markets

14:00 – 15:30

Coffee break

15:30 – 16.00

Closing session

17.00 – 17.15


17:15 – 18:00

Block C – Moral Markets

Eric van Damme | Wetenschappelijk directeur Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)
I - Competition, Cooperation and Morality (Eric van Damme)

Whereas mainstream economics is based on the assumption that people have stable preferences, psychology teaches us that people are driven by a variety of motives. Modern economics acknowledges that not all people are purely selfish and materialistic and allows for cooperators and reciprocators, but it still assumes that the “type” of an agent is fixed. In our work, we distinguish between three main individual goals (hedonic, gain and normative) and recognize that the personal motive that is dominant may depend on the situation and on the dominant motives of the other players in the interaction. As a consequence, framing a situation as a market or as being competitive might trigger a different motivation. Furthermore, normative motives may be crowded out when other persons, especially “significant others” display immoral behavior. We use this framework to assess under which conditions markets may crowd in or crowd out desirable behavior. One conclusion is that the market needs rules of fair play, which need to be seriously enforced.

Note: Eric van Damme is one of the researchers in the Moral Markets project. This presentation is based on previous joint work with Siegwart Lindenberg (Universities of Groningen and Tilburg).

Luigino Bruni | Hoogleraar economie, Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (LUMSA)
II - Virtues, Relationships and Trust (Luigino Bruni)

Trust is the soul of the market. The Latin word for trust, fides, means ‘faith’ but also ‘cord’, ‘string’: that what links people reciprocally. Is trust still important in our capitalism where reputation tries to substitute trust? And is it possible to trust without faith?


Steven Young | Global Executive Director Caux Round Table
III - Faith, Trust and Leadership in World Religions (Steven Young)

We live in an age of discontent. Various expressions of tribalism are replacing the cosmopolitan, globalized, international order under the Rule of Law having respect for human rights put in place after World War II. At the same time, we have a failure of elites in the United States and Europe. The resulting lack of trust is a serious systematic deficit in global social capital.

Fidelity to standards of stewardship is needed to restore our collective well-being. Self-actualization of such fidelity is a charis, a grace. It cannot be achieved by reasoning alone, nor can it be acquired through technical training and skill development. Being a steward demands a charismatic genius of character. Promoting stewardship is the great need of our age.

In this talk Stephen B. Young discusses the place and conception of stewardship in various religious traditions (Protestantism, Catholicism, the Islam, Confucianism and Buddhism), as well as in the Roman Republic and in tribal cultures.

About the Witteveen Lecture

de-magie-van-harmonieProfessor Johannes Witteveen (1921) was among others professor of economics, member of Dutch parliament, chancellor of the exchequer of the Dutch Finance Ministry, and managing director of the IMF during the challenging 1973-1978 period. He is not only an economist and politician, but also a ‘cherag’ (priest) in the Dutch community of Sufi, practitioners of Islamic mysticism. “Let the market do its work, says the economist in former minister Witteveen. The Sufi in him adds: but let us not harm the earth“, so an interview with Witteveen in newspaper Trouw in 2015 starts. His autobiography, which was published in 2012, carries the title “The Magic of Harmony; A View on the World Economy.

In his honor, the Erasmus School of Economics has established the Witteveen chair in macro and monetary economics in 2015. Prof. Casper de Vries, as the current holder of the chair, organized the first Witteveen lecture last year. It is partly a tribute to prof. Witteveen’s contributions, but also as an opportunity to reflect on the dire macro economic situation in Europe and the policy options available. Prof. Coen Teulings from Cambridge University and the University of Amsterdam gave the first Witteveen Lecture.

Block D – Witteveen Lecture

Jürgen von Hagen | Hoogleraar economie, Universität Bonn
Uncertainty, Trust, Money and God (Jürgen von Hagen)
The textbook paradigm of economic interaction in perfectly competitive markets has no room for trust. Nonetheless, trust is pervasive in real economies and it has received a lot of attention in economic research over the past three decades. Nevertheless, there is no agreement among economists over what trust means. In this lecture, I adopt an understanding of trust originally proposed by Georg Simmel and Niklas Luhmann and apply it to economics. Trust arises from a combination of uncertainty and vulnerability. Placed between knowing and not-knowing, trust involves a conscious decision to do something that is not justified by available data and is different from risk-taking. This makes trust similar to faith in God. Trust can give rise to large discontinuities in response to the arrival of small amounts of new information. This has important implications for the functioning of economic institutions and their regulation. I explore the economic implications of trust with the help of an investment game and the use of money.
About prof. Von Hagen

Prof. Jürgen von Hagen is connected to the University of Bonn and the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. He is co-editor of “Money as God? The Monetization of the Market and its Impact on Religion, Politics, Law and Ethics” (2016). Topic of this book:

“The nature of money and its impact on society has long interested scholars of economics, history, philosophy, law, and theology alike, and the recent financial crisis has moved these issues to the forefront of current public debate. In this study, authors from a range of backgrounds provide a unified examination of the nature and the purpose of money. Chapters cover the economic and social foundations of money; the historical origins of money in ancient Greece, China, the ancient Middle East, and medieval Europe; problems of justice connected to the use of money in legal systems and legal settlements, with examples both from ancient history and today; and theological aspects of monetary and market exchange. This stimulating interdisciplinary book, with its nontechnical and lively discussion, will appeal to a global readership working in the interfaces of economics, law and religion.”

De Dagvoorzitter
Dagvoorzitter van ERGO Xtra 2017 is Yvonne Zonderop:

“Ik ben een nieuwsgierige verbinder die maatschappelijke trends ziet en verduidelijkt voor anderen. Op mijn visitekaartje staat journalist: ik schrijf verhalen en ik leid gesprekken, zowel in een besloten setting als in het openbaar. Maar ik ben tegelijkertijd actief als betrokken toezichthouder en als adviseur bij diverse initiatieven. Ik voel mij thuis in verschillende werelden.
Ik gaf vijftien jaar leiding in de journalistiek, waaronder acht jaar in de hoofdredactie van de Volkskrant. Ik heb een ruim en divers netwerk opgebouwd, dat mij helpt de grote thema’s van deze tijd te formuleren. Voor De Groene Amsterdammer schreef ik een aantal verdiepende verhaalreeksen, onder meer over de digitale revolutie, over religie anno nu, over grote wetenschappelijke ontwikkelingen en over onze zoektocht naar het algemeen belang.”

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