Third Quarter, 2003
Profit and loss - corporations and development
What's love got to do with it?

What does Jesus' simple message of 'love God, love one another' have to do with corporate processes in the 21st century? - Jon Chamberlain

IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, by the time you reach the back cover of a series of articles about corporations in development, you may be experiencing a mild dose of the common head spin. The issues surrounding the role and practices of corporations in development can be quite complex and include: the scale of global poverty and the nature of human development; consumerism and the 'free trade' agenda; corporate social responsibility in relation to agricultural trade; affordable access to HIV/AIDS drugs; peace-building mechanisms; and environmental sustainability.

In facing these important issues, as a participant in the corporate process (as a shareholder, consumer, former manager, and civil society participant) in the 21st century, there is one question that for me continues to emerge: What does Jesus' simple message of 'love God, love one another' have to do with me and with the corporate process in which I now participate?

Perhaps nothing? Some initial reflections on this are offered in the box below:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more
and better life than they ever dreamed of. (John 10)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Just do it (Nike)
Life's good (LG)
'Yes' (Optus)
Eternity (Calvin Klein)
Always (Coca-Cola)

No one can serve two masters... You cannot serve
both God and Money. (Matthew 6)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Almost half the world's population - 2.8 billion people -
live on less than the 'breadline' of US$2 a day. At the
same time, consumerism is a major global cultural
force, with 20% of the world's people responsible for
nearly 90% of total private consumption expenditure.

I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy
might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is
my commandment, that you love one another. (John 15)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Recent research findings* seem to indicate that the
strong growth in rich country real incomes since the
1950s has led to little or no increase in average levels
of happiness.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't force itself on others...
isn't always "me first"...
doesn't keep score of the sins of others...
takes pleasure in the flowering of truth...
trusts God always. (1 Corinthians 13)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Create shareholder wealth
Short term
Equity returns
Global market
Comparative advantage

What does "love God, love one another" have to do with corporate processes in the 21st century? Perhaps nothing.

"Tell those rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage - to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build up a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life." (1 Timothy 6)

Perhaps more than any of us can imagine.

Jon Chamberlain works with World Vision Australia as an adviser to the CEO.

* cited in Ross Gittins, 'Happily, we're well off. Sadly, we're just not happy enough', The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 4 September 2002 - www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/03/

[Scripture quotations (John, Corinthians, Timothy) taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright � by Eugene H. Peterson, 1993, 1994, 1995. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. Scripture quotation (Matthew) taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright � 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.]

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