Business And The Poor

I have been working on a new major for WPC. The Social Entrepreneurship major has been approved by the business department, and now goes through the formal approval process with the faculty. I am very excited to be a part of this.  However, it was yesterday at Church where I found a Biblical foundation for Business and a trickle-down morality.

Naomi is one of the main players in the narrative found in the Old Testament book of Ruth. She had moved to Moab with her husband and two sons during a severe drought. While living in Moab her two sons married, but did not have children. Naomi’s husband and sons-in-law died, and rather than stay in poverty she returned to Israel. One of here daughters-in-law returned with her to take care of her. This is how the book of Ruth begins.

But what is very interesting to me is not the outcome, which had Boaz marrying Ruth and becoming a part of the lineage of the Messiah, but how the businessman Boaz treated the poor. It appears that it was standard practice for farmers during harvest to allow some of the grain to stay on the ground, which the poor would glean behind the harvesters.

This was not a tax issue, although I would imagine there was a requirement for taxes at this period of time. And this was not an incentive destroying socialist requirement to give all of your proceeds away. This was a system that the wealthy farmers could help the poor help themselves. The poor didn’t show up at an office to have a check given to them. They showed up at the field and worked behind the harvesters to pick up what was left. Boaz was a good man and made sure there was plenty for those gleaners in his field.

Would a system like this work today? In so many ways it is. On the large scale we have people like Gates, Branson, Buffet, and now George Lucas who are Philanthrocapitalists. They made their Billions and are now giving them away. We see corporations being socially responsible, providing money and service for various charities. The only reason they are capable of doing this is the amount of profit they generate. And we have Social Businesses and Entrepreneurships that see a need and meet it using the power of free enterprise and innovation.

The system may not be perfect, but I will take personal initiative, innovation, and mercy over taxes and unfair redistribution of wealth via large government action any day.

And that is my thought for the day!


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