Monday, October 23, 2006

One Market, Under God – Part Two: How Sociopaths Love Their Neighbors

The next section in Dick Doster’s “The Kingdom Work of the Corporate World” (byFaith Magazine, October 2006) is entitled “Business Is How We Love Our Neighbors.” The author writes:

“God has placed most of his people in business because it is there, working with others in a common purpose, that we [‘Love God and neighbor’].”
But as Joel Bakan has powerfully highlighted in his book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Big Business is anything but a Samaritan, let alone a “good” one.

Legally speaking, the corporation is a person entitled to all the rights that other individuals share. As a legal entity, a corporation has as its edict one, and only one, goal: To create profits for its shareholders, without legal or moral obligation to the welfare of workers, the environment, or the well-being of society as a whole. Competition and self-interest dominate, and other aspects of human nature, such as creativity, empathy, and the ability to live in harmony with the earth, are suppressed and even ridiculed (taken from the editorial review on

To put the matter bluntly, if the corporation’s identity were not just legally that of a person, but if it were an actual flesh-and-blood human being, we would lock him up and throw away the key. After all, we have a word for people who relentlessly pursue their own interests with contempt for the suffering or harm it inevitably causes others – they’re called “sociopaths.”

My point is not to demonize those who work in the business world, but simply that the desire to Christianize every aspect of society requires a pretty large list of assumptions about what a Christian society would look like.

And (lo and behold!) it usually looks a lot like a free market democracy with an eagle as its mascot.