Monday, February 05, 2007

Tomato Justice (5) - Corporate Generosity

Is McDonalds required to be generous? This raises and important question for Christians to answer. Do companies have a responsibility to be generous to the poor? We should remember that the mangers and directors of a company are watching over capital/assets that have been entrusted to them by their shareholders. They are stewards acting on behalf of their owners. They can only take actions for which they have been given approval by the shareholders. The articles of the company put boundaries on the range of actions that can be taken by managers and directors.

Managers cannot take the assets of the company for themselves, as that would be stealing. In the same way, unless the articles of the company provide for donations to charity, managers would be stealing if they gave the property of the company away to the poor.

Most Christians will generally do their own giving. Then they can pray and give as God leads. This will generally be more effective than trusting a company to give money away on their behalf. On the other hand, there may be some large projects that can only be funded by a large company. However this should only be done if it is provided for by the company’s articles of incorporation.

Forcing companies to be generous is not God’s way. Justice is not achieved by forcing companies to be generous.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Overall, Ron, I really like your analysis. Lots of people expect "the market" or "the state" to be benevolent, philanthropic entities. As wonderful and Christian as this might seem, neither was designed to operate that way. Ideally, they remain even-handed and egalitarian: nothing less, nothing more. The scriptural picture of a "just balance" is appropriate here. The main ideas are honesty and accuracy.

We dare not pass the buck and expect the Government to do the job of the Church; regardless of how "Christian" you think your particular Government to be. Square peg, round hole - big time.

Looks like I missed your earlier, highly interesting discussion regarding Wal-Mart under part 3. I lean a bit too hard libertarian to have much negative to say about the chain. It's a larger discussion than can be carried on effectively in tiny little comment windows: suffice to say that on this one, I tend to agree with Ron's statements.