Four Factors Influencing Business (#16, #17)
16. Christian business leaders must be able to see this world in a way that allows them to make judgments about it, to build up its goodness and truth, to promote the common good, and to confront evil and falsehood. The judge section of this paper offers help in this kind of assessment. Here the aim is to present a short summary of some key factors affecting business activity today, indicating where possible their good, bad, and context-dependent aspects from the perspective of the business leader.
17. Among the many complex factors that influence business locally and globally, there are four which standout as worthy of special mention, having fundamentally changed the context of business over the last quarter-century. The first three are closely related to each other:
(1) globalization, (2) new communication technologies, and (3) the financialization of the economy. The fourth factor, (4) cultural changes—and, in particular, the challenge of individualism and accompanying moral systems of relativism and utilitarianism—may arguably present the greatest dangers to Christian business leaders. There are of course many other factors that have a bearing on business today (state regulation, the role of international authorities, unions, environmental issues, work/family tensions, and more), all of which deserve analysis, but in an effort to be succinct we will only examine these four.
We will look at each of these factors in the next few points. But for now, are these the four most important factors in your opinion (globalization, new communication technologies, financialization of the economy, cultural changes)?
What about the others mentioned? Regulation, international authorities, unions, environmental issues, work/family tensions?
And what are some others? I thought of a few:
· Demographics. Birth rates are declining in the industrialized world. This will affect demand for products and services, reducing profitability and pushing companies out of business.
· Increasing use of drugs. Over 30% of those applying for manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania are ineligible for employment due to drug use. And this statistic will worsen as states follow Colorado’s lead in legalizing marijuana.
· Huge government and corporate debt. Cheap money has created massive borrowing that may not be repaid (Argentina, Greece). How are companies positioned for the disruption caused by rising interest rates?
· Permanent unemployment. Over 90 million people are not working in this country alone. In Europe, the unemployment rate for young people is 50% in many countries. Those young adults may never work full time, shattering their dignity. Work is an important component of human dignity.
· Business disruption caused by technology. Entire business models are being overturned by technology. This isn’t new, but the impact of poor education and the speed of substitution (e.g. cloud based software versus the client/server model) is leaving millions of people behind.
Perhaps you can think of others. Please send me an email with your thoughts.