Security, sustainability, and stability often depend on a system of values that has taken centuries to develop within a specific society. Current development strategies, however, tend to ignore, often underestimate, and sometimes undermine cultural values or the cultural environment, which are essential to healthy human development. The question, then, becomes: How can human values and belief systems be properly integrated into the modern economic development paradigm?
In Culture, Spirituality, and Economic Development, author William F. Ryan S.J. begins to tackle this question. He does so by reflecting upon a series of interviews conducted with scholars from various disciplines and all corners of the globe. The results confirm the fallacy of searching for a new development "grail." Instead, this book prompts scholars and development professionals to look to a variety of development paradigms, each rooted in its own ethical and spiritual world view, mutually dependent, mutually respectful, and mutually enriching.
William F. Ryan, S.J., has been involved extensively in the social and ethical dimensions of development in Canada and overseas for many years. He holds a master's degree in labour relations from St Louis University, a licentiate in theology from Collège St Albert, Louvain, and a doctorate in economics from Harvard University. He was founding director of the Center of Concern in Washington, DC, a board member of the North-South Institute from 1978 to 1991, and general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1984 to 1990. He is currently the director of the Jesuit Project on Ethics in Politics, based in Ottawa, Canada.