The Business World as Spirit Work


Robert Pierson

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Robert Pierson

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Business can sometimes seem mostly exploitation and evil (though counter-examples abound, both current and historical). But how does one do good through business, instead of just doing well? Robert Pierson is an engineer who has seen small business from the inside, thoroughly. After years of diverse job positions, and rising to become a systems engineer, the spiritual side of that work led Rob to get a Master of Ministry degree from Earlham School of Religion. He wrote an article called Do Quakers Mean Business?, confronting stereotypes of business, examining the history of business as a tool for doing good, and exploring possibilities of harnessing this power today.



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Hi Rob, I enjoyed listening

Hi Rob, I enjoyed listening to the interview. It seemed to me that you and the interviewer are essentially pretty negative toward business in general, negative toward most business, judgmental toward most business and toward capitalism. Unlike you and the interviewer, I think that the Invisible Hand that Adam Smith described is a blessing for mankind: Business people of all sorts who compete with each other to provide goods and services that people buy--of their own free will--have lifted up standards of living for mankind, lifted people out of poverty, provided employment and provided resources for charity and for government services. Some of these business people may just want to get rich, but to do so, they have to serve--they have to compete to provide products and services that people want to buy. They have to compete for employees--pay them enough, and they have to invest in their business, trade with other businesses and pay taxes. What a bounty capitalism has provided over the years! How many of us would want to be alive 100 years ago, with the lifespans and standards of living .that prevailed then? And I think that dispersal of wealth/private property across the populace --versus being concentrated in government--enhances individual freedom / liberty. I don't look down my nose at regular ordinary people, Quaker and non--Quaker people, engaged in the useful, nitty gritty world of making pizzas, pumping oil out of the ground, fixing cars, building roads and houses, lending money, and manufacturing swimming pool covers, etc. I think God gave us a mosaic of talents among people. Business people like me feel judged in today's Religious Society of Friends. Best regards, John Spears

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