Profit and Vocation.
Towards a Financial Market that Serves Society

4 November 2020

Reminiscing the financial crisis of 2008, and taking into account the current economic trouble, taxpayers usually take the blow. Yet, they have no means to check the power of the globalized financial market. Government bailouts have perpetuated the status-quo of the financial system, which is exclusively focused on growth. The time is right to question that very system and to move towards a financial market that’s serving society.

The webinar will start with a presentation by Ann Pettifor (political economist, author and public speaker) on the relation between society and the financial market. This will be followed by a testimony of an ethical player in the financial sector, Triodos Bank, brought by Thomas Van Craen (Managing Director at Triodos Bank Belgium).  


On the 1st of May 2019, Pope Francis called upon young economists, students and entrepreneurs worldwide to re-animate the economy and by doing so, starting a process of global change. In his speech, Pope Francis emphasized again that “everything is deeply connected and that the safeguarding of the environment cannot be divorced from ensuring justice for the poor and finding answers to the structural problems of the global economy”. He has noticed that “few have heard the appeal to acknowledge the gravity of the problems and, even more, to set in place a new economic model, the fruit of a culture of communion based on fraternity and equality”. Therefore, he reiterated his plea of the World Youth day in Panama, “not leave it to others to be protagonists of change”. He invited young people from all over the world to take part in a three-day conference, called The Economy of Francesco, where they could discuss and create new ways of understanding the economy and progress, for combating the culture of waste, for giving voice to those who have none and for proposing new styles of life:  

“That is why I would like to meet you in Assisi: so that we can promote together, through a common covenant, a process of global change. One in which not only believers but all men and women of good will, beyond differences of creed and nationality, can participate, inspired by an ideal of fraternity attentive above all to the poor and excluded.” (Pope Francis) 

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the conference was first postponed and now redesigned as an online conference on 19, 20 and 21 November 2020. In these past few months, The Economy of Francesco has developed into more than just an event. It has become a movement of young talented people, entrepreneurs, changemakers and economists from all over the world, who are eager to learn, exchange views, and collaborate for a just and inclusive global economy. It is a creative community, which is defining the Economy of Francesco by debating new models for the economy, weaving between the “already” and “not yet”. 

In the weeks leading up to the event, UCSIA, the Trends Economy of Hope Chair and Economy of Communion Belgium are organizing two Towards…-webinars. These are preparatory lectures to foster the dialogue between creative youngsters, researchers and entrepreneurs who are inspired and determined to serve the common good. 

 The Economy of Francesco puts forward twelve themes or Villages, which encompass the participants’ questions of the future economy. With our Towards…-webinars, we have chosen to put Profit & Vocation and Women for Economy / Work & Care in the spotlight. Featuring eminent international scholars and local good practices, we hope to contribute to the dialogue of The Economy of Francesco 


Further reading:  


Date & Time

4 November 2020
4.00 – 5.00 p.m. UTC+1
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Online via Blackboard Collaborate.
How does it work?


Free entrance.
Please register online in advance.


4.00 p.m.
Welcome and introduction by Ellen Van Stichel (KU Leuven)

4.05 p.m.

Why the Financial Industry Must Serve Society Again 

Ann Pettifor (political economist, author and public speaker)

4.30 p.m.

How Can Banks Contribute to a Society-Serving Financial Sector?  

Thomas Van Craen (managing Director at Triodos Bank Belgium)

4.45 p.m.
Q&A moderated by Ellen Van Stichel (KU Leuven)
5.00 p.m.


Ann Petifor

Ann Petifor

Ann Pettifor is best known for her prediction of the Great Financial Crisis in The Coming First World Debt Crisis (Palgrave 2006). In 2008 she co-authored The Green New Deal published by New Economics Foundation. In 2017 Verso published The Production of Money on the nature of money, debt and the finance sector. She is the author of The Case for The Green New Deal (Verso, 2019).

In 2018 the Heinrich Boll Foundation awarded Pettifor the Hannah Ahrendt Prize. She is a Council member of the Progressive Economy Forum and director of PRIME economics – a network of Keynesian macroeconomists. She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Newcastle for her work leading an international movement for the cancellation of $150bn of debt owed by 35 low income countries, Jubilee 2000.

Thomas Van Craen

Thomas Van Craen

Managing Director at Triodos Bank Belgium, Board Member at Solifin

Ellen Van Stichel

Ellen Van Stichel

Assistant Professor Christian Social and Political Ethics at KU Leuven

Organizers and partners

Economy of Communion Belgium

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