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Human Finitude and Specialized Production: A Christian-Realist Rationale for Business Enterprises

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Abstract

The instinctive reaction of many Christians, as well as other religious people, is negative when they think of big business or profits. We explore why business firms make good organizations for the production and supply of goods and services. To do so, we utilize some insights from Christian realism, a concept associated with the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr. We argue that human finitude is the root cause of the existence of such organization. Human finitude leads to specialization in production, and specialization creates the need to coordinate the actions of many people. The coordination problem is also affected by human finitude but is affected by human sin as well. We explore why the factors of human finitude and sin result in the current model of business enterprise’s being the more successful model as a means of production and why Christians do not need to see this as a necessary evil.

John Lunn and Vicki TenHaken, "Human Finitude and Specialized Production: A Christian-Realist Rationale for Business Entreprises," Journal of Markets & Morality 11, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 255-273


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