Headquarters: Work & Economics

Updates from Cardus on the renewal of North America's social architecture.
Appears in Summer 2017 Issue: Rethinking Civil Religion
June 1 st 2017

Economics is important, but it's not the most important part of life. In fact, you could say it's too important of a second thing to make it a first thing. Doing so would corrupt it.

This might seem a counterintuitive move to make for a research program about economics. But at Cardus we believe we can learn more about work and economics when we understand them in the light of being a human made in the image of God.

Consider a common category in the field of economics: supply and demand. We measure a lot of labour supply in a given market—skilled labour in the construction sector, for instance. However, we rarely if ever try to understand the various non‐economic factors that affect this supply. What factors led a young man or woman to opt out of carpentry? Does meaning, or social status, or the structure of our education system have anything to do with the choice?

Cardus's Work and Economics program tries to uncover these often‐neglected dimensions of our economic life. There is ample evidence that people are economic, but they are much more than that. And we forget this to our own detriment. We worship, we play, we marry (or not), we form communities of all sorts, we learn, and, yes, we make and spend money. Economics is one part of a good life, just what that part is and how it affects and is affected by all the others is what animates our research.


Brian Dijkema is Program Director, Work and Economics at Cardus and senior editor with Comment. Prior to joining Cardus, Brian worked for almost a decade in labour relations in Canada after completing his master's degree with Cardus Senior Fellow, Jonathan Chaplin. He has also done work on international human rights, with a focus on labour, economic, and social rights in Latin America and China.