Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

13 March 2009

Kingdom Capitalism

"Dave... I've decided I love watching you offend people"
Sam


My friend Sam told me that the other night after seeing me offend yet another person because of a personal option. What can I say, I have a gift.

Last night I was out with a buddy of mine for dinner and our monthly "world domination" spitball session, when I offended a patron at Williams coffee pub. We were talking about the difference between human rights abuse and creative capitalism. I was mentioning that I don't think it's a fair situation that people broad-stroke North American companies that manufacture in Asia as human rights abusers, when sometimes the jobs they bring to places like the Philippines can be descent income providers for families.

It's far from perfect and (yes) abused by many... but there is SO much potential for good if done by people of intentional Kingdom purpose. I began talking about the Creative Capitalism (Like RED) concept that strategizes to bring jobs, industry and income to areas of the third world... AND profits corporate North America in the process.

A passionate guy named Mark was sitting near us and took offense to my line of discussion. Mark interrupted by asking if I'd ever been to The Philippines (which I have). Mark, with moist eyes, told us of his time there. He told his story of how he lost his son and, looking to escape the pain of familiar context, joined his missionary neighbor in a rural part of an island in the Philippines. I'm not entirely sure what Mark did there... but I do know that someone there who he invested time in, died during his stay. Mark personally helped dig the grave and was understandably VERY impacted by the whole thing.

We talked at great length with Mark about world and it's issues and heard each others hearts. It was excellent. When Mark overheard me talking, he assumed that because I think it's OK for companies to make a profit... I was propagating greed and therefore not caring of the plight of people. Far from it. I think there are ways solutions to big problems. And talking on a macro scale has to happen to arrive at them. Unfortunately... it can seem offensive to the Mark's of the world. And thank you Jesus for Mark's. He'll do many things in life that I never will. But we have a world that is bigger than our own personal passion. It's bigger. We all have an interdependent role to play.

My good friend Albert in Ghana told us once that, in his opinion, it's time for North Americans to stop coming to Africa and taking pictures of "starving children" playing soccer in their underwear... for a number of reasons. But mainly because it's now the only image that most of us have of a whole continent. And while yes OF COURSE there are hungry people in Africa... because someone is wearing shorts and no shoes... it doesn't make them miserable. It just makes North American see Africa as a big sick problem. Not a place of potential. What Africa really is, is a beautiful mosaic of passionate, gifted people... gorgeous landscapes... and a combination of untapped and misappropriated wealth.

We need to see that... and act on it.

See... Albert's heart is world domination. He's thinking bigger. He'd love for North American companies, not to just come a take, but come and invest in Africa... it's people, and their destiny... WHILE making money. And in turn... release African missionaries to help infuse hope about a living God and the value of family and morality into our socially rotting culture. That would be a fair trade wouldn't it? According to Time Magazine, Africa being a business destination is the 6th largest thing changing our world right now! (New Calvinism is #3 BTW).

People are already doing this around the world. Are we going capitalize on it for the Kingdom of God or let greed-pirates rape, pillage and plunder? I think that we should coin a new term.

Kingdom Capitalism

Making money. Building nations. Funding ministry. It works here, there, and everywhere. It just takes dreamers, risk-takers and strategist to lead the way. The result is that guys like my new friend Mark will get to do what's really in his heart. And he maybe won't have to dig a grave next time.

5 comments:

Jeff said...

You're absolutely right about the whole "businesses in the Philippines" thing, Dave. People complain about the sweatshops in developing nations, but they don't realize that if the sweatshops weren't there, those employees would be picking through garbage dumps for cans and bottles to recycle. Certainly the factories are horrible working environments as compared to North America - but it's a start. When these North American companies come in and start a factory, it allows local businesses to take a look at the business practices and emulate them. And that produces competition. Once employees have a choice of where to work, they will start to pick the ones that give better working conditions, better wages, etc. The more competition there is, the better it is for the workers.

Certainly the situation in a lot of these countries is horrible. But it's easy for us to sit over here and judge the quality of the workplaces over there. They come to work every day just happy they have a job - happy they can feed their families. And that's a start.

Chris Jones said...

this is fun...
I wonder if it really isn't capitalism that you are in favour of.
If Capitalism is defined this way http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism then the concern i have regarding capitalism is that individual private enterprise generally ends up being ruled by greed...because we are all human. Now there is no question that the alternative isn't perfect..but in my mind it is the lesser of two evils - the possibility that there is someone in the community that can say "hold on...that will make us more money, but it probably isn't in the best interest of Bob...or bob's neighbourhood." That's why I think community is so important and why true free market economy capitalism elevates the individual to a place that I wonder if is useful.
I totally support opportunity, I'm an entrepreneur! However, I am an entrepreneur who has felt the temptation to pay my workers less and make them work more for my benefit and the benefit of my bottom line.
i love having you as a friend - you challenge me to think and that's awesome!

Dave Carrol said...

I have a friend who has a vision to go and buy a resort on the coast of the Dominican (or wherever) and develop something like mission-tourism ... only it would be opulent.

Instead of the rich paying to go and serve with their vacation to feel good about themselves. They pay MORE and REALLY do good. they pay over and above what a vacation is worth and live in extraordinary luxury. The proceeds of the resort go directly to strategic community development.

Logic being that their money is actually needed... and they want to vacation... and both are good and doable. It's just the visionaries that have to act to make it happen... instead of scolding the rich... empower their action.

I do agree with what you're saying that the basis of flat out capitalism is greed and that's the one major thing that would kill this idea completely.

And hey... I'm not exactly someone who is in this position either...haha. I'm the living on nothin workin' the field guy right now.

And right back at ya Chris... fun to have you as a friend

Chris Jones said...

totally love that line -"empower their action." I've been meeting some neat people in that realm lately - you should talk to Rob Hall about the mission tourism - he is all over stuff like that and has started an adventure tourism gig.
Can't wait to get a coffee in and offend someone together at the table next to us!

Chris said...

Great Post!

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