Specific economic principles in the Baha’i Writings, a deepening (part one)


There is a strong belief in the world that capitalism is a solution to all economic problems. However, we know that no system is perfect, whether it be capitalism or communism, if the foundation is not built on divine principles.


“There is nothing in the teachings against some kind of capitalism; its present form, though, would require adjustments to be made.”    -Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 20.



  1. Is the present form of capitalism perfect?
  2. What adjustments have to be made to capitalism?


Agriculture—The Farmer

“To solve this problem [welfare and well-being] we must begin with the farmer; there will we lay a foundation for system and order because the peasant class and the agricultural class exceed other classes in the importance of their service.”  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  Foundations of World Unity, p. 39.

“The question of economics must commence with the farmer and then be extended to the other classes inasmuch as the number of farmers is greater than all the classes, many many times greater.  Therefore, it is fitting that the economic problem be first solved with the farmer, for the farmer is the first active agent in the body politic.”  -‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  Lights of Guidance, p. 548.  (Extract from a Tablet to an individual believer, 4 October 1912, translation corrected in the World Centre, December 1985)


  1. Why are the farmer’s services more important than the services of other workers?
  2. Why should we start with the farmer?


Work and Profession

“Every individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, is under the obligation of engaging in some work or profession, for work, especially when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Bahá’u’lláh, a form of worship.  It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a value in itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables us to better grasp His purpose for us in this world.  It is obvious, therefore, that the inheritance of wealth cannot make anyone immune from daily work.”  -Shoghi Effendi:  Directives of the Guardian, p. 83.  (Letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of USA and Canada, dated 22 March 1937.)

“… Whatever the progress of the machinery may be, man will have always to toil in order to earn his living.  Effort is an inseparable part of man’s life.  It may take different forms with the changing conditions of the world, but it will be always present as a necessary element in our earthly existence.  Life is after all a struggle.  Progress is attained through struggle, and without such a struggle life ceases to have a meaning; it becomes even extinct.  The progress of machinery has not made effort unnecessary.  It has given it a new form, a new outlet.”   -Shoghi Effendi:  Lights of Guidance, p. 551.  (Letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, dated 26 December 1935.)



  1. What purpose does work serve besides earning a livelihood?
  2. Are rich people exempt from working?
  3. How can work be a form of worship?
  4. How can work bring us closer to God?

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