The two Friday talks alternated between small-group workshops in which attendees discussed best practices for their programs. In the morning, academic officers from three ON seminaries helped participants think about administrators’ points of view and how they can offer value to their institutions. In the afternoon, three ON faculty leaders shared best practices in program design and implementation – small group discussion opportunities, faculty reading groups, local church partnerships, and dealing with large institutional constituencies like denominational bodies.
On Saturday morning, P.J. Hill – emeritus professor of economics at Wheaton College – spoke about “Loving Strangers through Work and Exchange.” He led eight volunteers from the audience in an experiment known as the Ultimatum Game, in which one party determines how to divide an amount of money between himself and another party, and the other party can accept the offer (meaning both players get the money) or reject it (in which case neither player gets anything). Hill then described how widespread use of the Ultimatum Game had called into question the traditional view of “homo economicus,” because both parties in the game rarely behave purely self-interestedly. Norms of dignity and fairness matter.
Moreover, while Ultimatum Game experiments produce very similar results throughout the developed world, from America and Europe to Israel and Indonesia, people in primitive economies are less likely to be generous when playing the game than those in developed economies. Hill argued that this is because the entrepreneurial economy is based on norms that require good treatment of strangers, especially the notion that economic exchange is mutually beneficial. He argued that people in the entrepreneurial economy generally value the benefit to others involved in economic exchange as well as the benefit to themselves. The net effect on people’s moral character, he argued, is positive. Audio of his talk and his slides are available below.