Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One Market, Under God – Part Three: Blessed are the Poor....

The third portion of Doster’s article in byFaith Magazine (“The Kingdom Work of the Corporate World”) is called “Business is How We Care For the Poor.” Yes, you read that correctly.

Business is, “in an ultimate sense, the only solution to poverty,” Doster writes, since “for-profit work in the secular world is how we care for those in need.” As Christians go into business, the theory goes, new wealth will be created which will create new jobs, thereby fulfilling the cultural mandate and loving our neighbors.

But as I pointed out in my last post, a corporation has only one mandate, and that is to make money for its shareholders. If people are benefited in the process, that is merely a by-product that will exist only as long as the company’s bottom line increases. So if your favorite clothing company can have its products manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop by eight-year-olds making 12 cents a day, that is good news for investors. Or if American businessmen can privatize Bolivia’s rainwater and prohibit the indigenous population from collecting it in buckets to wash themselves for free, a victory is claimed for the free market.

My point is simple: To insist that the second Table of the law can only be fulfilled in a free-market, capitalist society, and that the wealthier a CEO becomes the better off the rest of us will be, is about the most white, privileged, American interpretation of “kingdom work” that I have ever heard.

Or are we only to “contextualize” the kingdom message to those who think that "Rush is Right"?