Business Ethics Archives - Seedbed

As people of faith, we can work to play a role in shaping the very markets that we participate in. If you had a clearer understanding of what occurred within the supply chain for a particular good you typically purchase, how might that change what you buy or how much you spend?

For a market to be a true market, there must be a notion of voluntary exchange. While free, creative, and voluntary actions are not the only requirements for markets to be effective, they are at the epicenter of the market mechanism. Yet the same liberty that allows me to freely enter into economic arrangements also allows me to act in non-market ways. This includes the practice of unconditional giving.

In this blog series, I have attempted to highlight five areas of benefit and five areas of caution when it comes to conceptualizing markets in the faith community. I would like to end this series by making some general comments on the five areas of caution that we, as people of faith, should be cognizant of when it comes to market activity.

To so easily separate our business activity from our faith identity is wrong. But why? In this post, we provide three assumptions that, if true, would suggest that business activity can, and should be, intricately tied to our identity.

“If Christian colleges and universities don’t get this right—there is really no reason for us to exist.” Much has been written regarding the Raison D’etre of a faith-based institution. Yet this comment—getting ethics right—is of particular importance for faculty and staff preparing students to enter a complex, globalized marketplace.

Trade is good. When it comes to creating the conditions necessary to allow others to thrive, it is very good. Moreover, a free market allows for productivity, specialization, and open trade to occur. This naturally allows for innovation and growth, market outcomes that people of faith can reasonably support.

Prices may seem like a convenience of the modern market system—but they also have a moral dimension that people of faith should seek to understand. In this post, Kevin Brown explores the idea of supply and demand and price ceilings in the marketplace.

Specialization has allowed us to find prosperity and progress outside of ourselves—a redemptive notion among those in the faith community. To understand why specialization is so important for economic growth and development, you need to understand two other economic concepts: opportunity cost and comparative advantage.

They say politics often makes strange bedfellows. I’ve never heard it said that economics makes strange bedfellows. But I don’t know how else to explain some of the strikingly similar language one finds in the writings of Pope John Paul II and Karl Marx.

How do we determine when it is appropriate to rely on markets and market logic, and when it isn’t? Many areas of our life are governed by non-market norms. What are the risks, and the moral implications, of letting markets infiltrate these areas?

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