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May 31st, 2013

500,000 Hungry in UK? A Response!

Businesses That Feed

According this week’s report, Walking the Breadline, by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty (CAP), 500,000 people in the UK are now thought to be reliant on food parcels to feed themselves. That such an incredible number of people should be dependent upon charity for such basic provisions in the seventh richest country in the world is a phenomenal indictment of all society.

It is tempting to lay the majority of the blame for this at the government’s door, citing welfare cuts as the problem. However, this would be to ignore the key role that business could and should be playing in addressing the issue. Manoj Raithatha, entrepreneur and writer, says, “Business is about more than employment. Giving the dignity of labour is just the starting point – the shaping of wider society is the goal.”

In his book, Building the Kingdom Through Business, co-written with Bridget Adams, Manoj notes that many of the social services now considered to be the preserve of the state were originally introduced by successful, often Christian, business people in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These pioneering men and women were concerned not only with the bottom line of their enterprises but also for the health and welfare of their employees. At a time when the government is withdrawing support in key welfare areas businesses have an incredible opportunity to actively get involved and fill the gap, not just materially.

And where these businesses are Christian they can provide not only material help but also spiritually, facilitating greater transformation than the state alone could ever have hoped to bring. Company directors who dream less of increased share options and more of broken lives redeemed, who understand the spiritual bottom line to be as essential to any success as the financial, these are the men and women to lead our society out of the moral and economic gloom that is so prevalent today.

At one time the Quakers, though a vanishingly small proportion of the population, created a commercial culture that is still remembered today over 200 years later. Building the Kingdom Through Business argues that now is the time for a new movement of creative, talented and perceptive business leaders to redefine the goals that all businesses seek to aspire towards. The writers present modern contemporary examples of companies who are beginning to do this, and offer practical advice on how a business can be formed to present a vision that others will want to follow.

Building the Kingdom Through Business is available from Christian bookshops and online in paperback & Kindle formats:

 

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