Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

I received a copy of "Doing Virtuous Business" by Theordore Roosevelt Malloch from the Book Sneeze program in exchange for my honest review. I was expecting more of a "how-to" conduct one's business affairs justly, something more along the lines of "Business by the Book". However, while "Doing Virtuous Business" does provide some practical examples and a practical list of virtues to employ, it is more of a philosophical treatise about capitalism and ethics. Malloch explores the effects of religious beliefs of many different kinds on how an individual or a corporation operates. Since I am a Christian, it is his view of Christianity that interests me most.

In some senses, I think it is dangerous to link being a Christian to any one system of economics or politics. After all, the follower of Jesus lives by the values of God's kingdom and His righteousness, and God's principles and values are greatly different than any system based on worldly wisdom. The true Christian strives to be radically righteous, radically just, radically generous, and radically loving no matter what economic or political system he or she is placed in. Malloch lists virtues that not only build economic capital but spiritual capital, as well. These virtues, so far as they are Christ-like virtues, should be found in every believer in any economic circumstance.

However, there is not doubt that democracy and capitalism do provide unique opportunities and freedoms that can be used for great good. I am impressed that Malloch realises that mankind not only has a moral dimension, but a spiritual dimension, as well. Suppressing the spiritual dimension through economics, politics, or academics is never good for a country and its people. Encouraging the spiritual dimension to flourish blesses a nation.

Since I don't often read economic theory of any kind, reading Malloch's theories and also the examples of virtuous businesses that he describes is mind-stretching for me. I haven't decided yet what I think of some of Malloch's ideas, but I find it worthwhile to consider them. I am grateful to be in a democratic republic, as well as in a capitalist system, because I do enjoy freedom and the chance to use my talents in creative, profitable, ethical, and spiritual ways. I pray that our government and economy strengthen. I like the idea that in a capitalist society you can create material and spiritual capital. This is because it is an open and creative system of economy, as opposed to the closed systems of communism and socialism. However, should God, in His Sovereignty, move our country's system in another direction, I pray that He would show me ways to be Christlike in whatever that turns out to be.


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