Material benefits and endeavors cannot be regarded as ends in themselves. Their value consists not only in providing for humanity’s basic needs in housing, food, health care, and the like, but in extending the reach of human abilities. The most important role that economic efforts must play in development lies, therefore, in equipping people and institutions with the means through which they can achieve the real purpose of development: that is, laying foundations for a new social order that can cultivate the limitless potentialities latent in human consciousness. Only in this way can economics and the related sciences free themselves from the undertow of the materialistic preoccupations that now distract them, and fulfil their potential as tools vital to achieving human well-being in the full sense of the term.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social Cultural Rights, Chapter V, para. 1, line 3-11)