Priority A - A holistic approach
Economic policy must proceed from recognition of the wider needs of all people in Wales. This should avoid “silo-thinking” in which particular sectors of the economy and groups in society are supported or favoured in isolation from their connections with others. Policy should also be consensual and focused on long-term human flourishing, rather than short-term fixes which are framed within the constraints of the political cycle. So, for example, public investment should consider the needs and interests of future generations, as much as those of the present. Human flourishing is as much about investing in social and spiritual capital as in material prosperity. Economic policy should also give due consideration to the importance of exercising good stewardship over the shared natural wealth with which God has blessed the people of Wales.
Priority B - Sustainable finance
Contemporary society and its economic structures are pre-occupied with interest rates, inflation, debt, consumer spending and monetary measures of well being (for example GDP per head). Economic policy in Wales should seek to reduce the burden of interest payment, inflationary pressure, and debt burden on the population by promoting and supporting community-focused systems of finance, such as credit unions and micro-finance and away from usurious credit and bad lending practice which wring resources from the most vulnerable. Stronger consumer protection measures should be introduced to promote prudent and equitable lending practices.
Priority C - Work opportunities and incentives
Employment opportunity is not always fairly distributed across society – some are expected to work very long hours to make ends meet, others find themselves economically inactive. Individuals ought to be encouraged and supported to stay in work and not incentivised to stay out of it, and policy makers must re-double efforts to achieve effective implementation of this principle. However, alongside this, policy must recognise that society faces obligations to promote access to appropriate skills and training opportunities, whether vocational and practical or academic. Flexible approaches, rather than “one size fits all”, should be adopted to equip people for purposeful activity, whether paid market work or non-market work, such as caring and homemaking or volunteering and community engagement. Policy should recognise the different needs of individuals at different life stages.
The principle of good stewardship runs throughout the Bible. It reminds society that individual and corporate talents and abilities, as well as the natural created resources with which humankind are blessed, are God’s gracious provision for us (Psalm 8). That provision is both economic, provided to meet material needs, and spiritual (Luke 12:22-28). An exclusive focus on the material to the detriment of the whole person, body, mind and spirit, is condemned (Luke 16:13). The Bible also speaks extensively of the need to ensure that all people have access to that material and spiritual blessing, and are not excluded through loss of economic opportunity or through financial exploitation (Deuteronomy 24: 10-22, Amos 5). There is therefore an obligation on those who have much to provide for those who have less (Acts 2: 44-47).