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Religious Market Theory of Peace Yields Interfaith Harmony and Economic Growth

4 Aug, 2014

“The Religious Market Theory of Peace” developed by Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and Penn State Professor Roger Finke, has led to a new and novel means to create harmony while promoting economic growth, finds Valentina Gasbarri.

Gasbarri goes through the seven reasonsfor why religion freedom and business are good for each other. For instance, religious freedom reduces corruption, a key impediment to sustainable economic development. And, research shows that religious freedom engenders peace by reducing religion-related violence and conflict, which inhibits economic growth.

Gasbarri, looking at data from Pew Research and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, observed that there is increasing recognition that faith and religious freedom play a vital role in promoting peaceful and harmonious relationships between nations. She notes that while international organizations such as the United Nations have long recognized the principle of religious freedom, there have been few quantitative contributions that review the positive impact of faith and religion to social and economic well being.

Indeed, religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth, according to a new study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

Gasbarri cites a study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, published in January 2014, showing that 5.3 billion people – nearly 76 percent of the world’s population – live under high or very high restrictions on the freedom of religion and beliefs. These restrictions come from both the private sector and from government policies and religious restrictions reached a six-year peak in 2012.

Given this global peak in restrictions on religion and the accompanying social and economic harm, Gasbarri writes that “The Religious Market Theory” is a viable solution with a clear plan.

Valentina Gasbarri is a Junior Expert of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).