Giles Fraser, writing in the Church Times (23rd March), finishes an article with this light-hearted proposal, having quoted the famous economist Adam Smith (An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776):
“By persuing his own interest [a person] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”
Giles sees some truth in this, drawing on the example of a thriving cafe at his church, to challenge what he sees as the prevailing idea in the church that the best way to make an impact on society is non-commercially.
His view seems to me to tie in with the growing recognition amongst Christians of the value of commercial activity, that is “Business as Mission.”
Of course, not all business is good for society.
The Revd Dr Giles Fraser is Team Rector of Putney. His most recent book is Christianity with Attitude, Canterbury Press £9.99 (978-1-85311-782-4).
Read his full article (this link may not be permanent)