The most difficult thing in the world when one lives one's whole life in one place is to go on seeing one's surroundings as for the first time. I happen to have spent a lot of tine throughout my life in Paris and I am repeatedly struck by the astounded admiration of first-time visitors. The experience is the same for texts we have head too many times. We no longer know how to hear, or even to listen to, the voice of Christ which has become a sort of comforting purr. Moreover, we can hardly tell the difference between the original voice and the commentaries which accompany it. Yet Jesus's words are supremely recognizable. They have a music, a logic, a gentle irony which belongs only to Him. Using His actual words is to free the jewels from their mount and let them adapt to a new setting.
This is my aim with this book. To listen to Christ's words; and to listen to the message he has given us on how efficiently run our economic affairs.
Let me be clear and to put it plainly: what the Fathers of the Church, theologians or biblical specialists have thought, or still think, about Christ's message in the economic sphere leaves me prodigiously indifferent. This is not a book about religion but one about economics in the light of the Gospels.
Many people, religious men or politicians, have used the Gospels as an excuse to defend socialism and government intervention on moral grounds. But, to my knowledge, few economists have done any work on the Gospels. Have the Gospels perhaps been over-studied and over-annotated by religious experts? By moralists and by philosophers? And not enough by economists and businessmen? The comments in this book will thus be put forward not in the light of my inadequate theological culture, but rather aided by an economic and political experience accumulated haphazardly over the years – years of reflection on how best to act in the modern business world.
And, in light of my experience, and upon re-reading the Gospels, I was struck by how Christ, in a few simple sentences, was able to tear down all economic fallacies and show that the best way is always that of freedom.