Big Business and You
BUSINESS is a human activity, and humans are liable to make serious mistakes. Hence, big business, too, often makes serious moral errors. Big business involves huge sums of money, so it will inevitably appeal to the greedy and the power hungry. And as an integral part of this world, it will naturally reflect the thinking of the god of this world. Remember, “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”—1 John 5:19.
Nevertheless, those who commit the wrongs are responsible. Any who take advantage of huge financial power to cheat the man in the street should remember the warning: “He that is defrauding the lowly one has reproached his Maker.” (Proverbs 14:31) Even if the consequences of their acts are only visible in a distant country, perhaps never seen by them personally, the Bible principle holds true: “He that is defrauding the lowly one to supply many things to himself . . . is surely destined for want.” (Proverbs 22:16) Any wealth coming from such victimization will not shield the criminals from God’s final judgment.
This is especially true of the arms producers and salesmen. True, they do not actually pull the triggers or throw the bombs that take innocent lives. But in supplying the weapons, they share the guilt. The truth is, much modern warfare would be impossible without the cooperation of big business. Because businesses have cooperated, the whole globe is like the ancient land of Israel, “polluted with bloodshed.” (Psalm 106:38) Eventually, as happened in those days also, Jehovah will judge the guilty: “You will destroy those speaking a lie. A man of bloodshed and deception Jehovah detests.”—Psalm 5:6.
But what can an individual do? Should all contact with business be avoided? Not necessarily. Business as such is not condemned in the Bible. (Proverbs 31:18; Matthew 25:14-27) Nevertheless, how business is conducted is important. “The one making unjust profit is bringing ostracism upon his own house,” warns the Bible proverb. And the moral dangers awaiting anyone whose chief goal in life is to get rich are clearly underlined in the statement: “A man of faithful acts will get many blessings, but he that is hastening to gain riches will not remain innocent.”—Proverbs 15:27; 28:20.
A conscientious businessman should not be motivated by greed, and he should avoid doing anything to encourage greed in others. (Ephesians 5:3) He would not invest his money in things that are harmful. A Christian prays: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God the God of my salvation, that my tongue may joyfully tell about your righteousness.” (Psalm 51:14) Hence, how could he deliberately allow his money to be used for producing armaments, tobacco or anything else that causes death and disease to others? This would bring bloodguilt on him.
There is something else to be considered too. The apostle John said: “Everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” (1 John 2:16) “The desire of the flesh,” “the desire of the eyes,” “the showy display” of one’s wealth—these are the very things encouraged by big business in its remorseless quest for profits. But a balanced person will avoid being victimized by falling for subtle advertising campaigns or other forms of pressure designed to make him part with hard-earned money to buy some unnecessary item that has suddenly become fashionable.
In this way, to some extent we can avoid being deceived by the big corporations and imitating the wrongs often committed in their name. Of course, there is little we as individuals can do to redress many of the huge moral and legal crimes committed by some big businesses. The problems of political corruption, crime in the streets, world hunger, the threat of war and the other problems of this world system of things are, for the most part, out of our individual control.
However, even in this we are not without hope. God has promised that this system will soon be replaced by a new one under his Kingdom. The apostle Peter spoke about this when he said: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) Under that righteous system, there will be no room for unscrupulous big businesses or any other kind of criminal.
“And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”—Micah 4:3, 4
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“A man of bloodshed and deception Jehovah detests.”—Psalm 5:6