Thursday, August 18, 2005

Re-Imagining Business

I have been reeling with the implications of some of these thoughts. By "these thoughts" I am referring to the thoughts posted in the previous post. I also am reading ahead into chapter 4 and am reminded that we must not seek to overthrow the empire, but actually use the systems in place as starting places for revolution, reformation, and the imagining of new possibilities. As I've heard it, no revolution or renewal movement happens in a vaccuum. So here we are in America.

My fried Emma posts that we need corporatinos to come out to Nepal and invest in their people in order to bring them up out of poverty. I cringe on first read because I feel like I know how many corporations work. In fact, here is something I just read in Collapse that resonated with my suspicions. He is quoting this from a businessperson...

American businesses exist to make money for their owners [and/or stockholders]; it is the modus operandi of American capitalism. A corollary to the money-making process is not spending it needlessly... Business leaders are more likely to be accountants or attorneys than members of the clergy.

So, this and other things (like watching the film The Corporation) lead me to think that that could only ruin a place such as Nepal. After all, caring for the people is simply a way of 'spending money needlessly'.

We have accepted this as 'the way the world works' or 'the way business is'. When we have lost our ability to imagine a better world, we have lost our saltiness.

Only two options are a business or charity? Perhaps it's time to consider a third alternative. Businesses who have, as part of their DNA, a sort of generosity/sustainability/Kingdom factor... and not just for good PR. The shareholders invest, not to make a higher dollar return, but to know that their money is helping to bring about goodness in the world.

This all sounds like what the Church was meant to be... people investing their resources in creating a better world... helping to realize the Kingdom of God. Hmm.

1 comment:

EmmA...er...Pamela said...

Yeah, and I totally agree with you on the idea of ethical business... when i was at baylor i took World Food Problems and Global Business Practices back to back. I spent 10-11 am learning about how the crisis is only exploitation- not lack of food (in most situations) and then from 11-12 I learned, "try to get the most bang for your buck. people like working 12 hours a day for not enough money to feed their entire family."
so, sorry to have made you cringe... all i am saying is that we can lobby governments to death but still not alleviate poverty in the upside down worlds that are developing.