On Profit and The Bible

Bob Pritchett wrote a book recently that has received some notoriety. It’s called “Fire Someone Today (And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success).” In addition to being an author, Bob is a successful entrepreneur. He claims to have started his first business at age six, and is currently president and CEO of Logos, the largest developer of Bible software.

The bible says a lot of things about a lot of things, and one would presume that someone who runs a company devoted to making it easier to study the bible would also be a devotee of its message.

Perhaps I’m being presumptuous. The bible and business have long had an interesting relationship, and a great many people have used biblical principles as justification for advancing their careers and making a profit. But when I see such an obvious example as the one I found on Bob’s Web site the other day, I’m troubled.

Click here. Now maybe Bob’s just being cute. And I’m sure this kind of humor is very popular among business readers who feel that the Profit Motive is one of the highest callings imaginable. This web site, which Bob calls an “Interactive Business Tool … Just For Fun!!!” Asks readers a simple question:

“Is It Profitable?”

If the user clicks “No”, the interactive tool answers “Don’t Do It.”

If the user click “Yes”, the tool says “Consider It.”

This message seems to go directly counter to the overarching message of the bible Pritchett makes his money on.

I’m no biblical scholar, but I seem to hear a lot about biblical messages of charity and giving. And I seems to recollect that it says a lot about the evils of avarice and greed.

To Mr. Pritchett, I would say that there are a great many things that are not “profitable” that should be done. Providing health coverage is not profitable. Paying people a livable wage is not profitable.

And this is precisely why companies like Wal-Mart are so profitable. Because they’ve taken the advice and philosophies of people like Bob Pritchett too literally: if it’s not profitable, they don’t do it.

But even if the company doesn’t pay for those things, the burdens are shifted to the rest of us.

While that may be profitable, how can it be right and just? And what does the bible have to say about these immmoral practices, Mr. Pritchett?

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