In their message to the Bahá’ís of the World of 1 March 2017, the Universal House of Justice calls on us to “examine the implications of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh for economic life” and to exert “strenuous effort… to put His teachings into effect today.” (emphasis added) This Web talk will examine different aspects of this call in the context of concepts introduced by the House of Justice in earlier messages, such as the central role of community-building, the need for all—individuals, communities and institutions—to participate in the process, the importance of everyone acquiring knowledge and participating in its creation through action and reflection, and the need to ensure that the spiritual and material aspects of our lives are coherent.
These concepts are radical and dramatically different from the usual concepts of development and social change. There is no mention in the 1 March 2017 message of economic theories or experts, nor of top-down initiatives or political movements. Although the realization of the Bahá’í World Commonwealth of the future will require new economic systems to ensure economic justice, the House of Justice indicates that its “eventual emergence” will depend on the efforts we make now. The call is for Bahá’ís to increasingly contribute to economic justice and social progress in their own lives and communities “using the opportunities their circumstances offer them”. This Web talk will explore some of the ways we might be able to respond to this call, drawing on a range of Bahá’í principles that appear relevant.