Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Ripple Up” Economics, or How LinkedIn (and Facebook) Can Easily Change the World

As of June, 2013, LinkedIn membership is said to have topped 225 million. The vast majority of those are employed people in developed economies where a cup of coffee can easily cost $2.00 or more. Let’s think about how the sheer numbers of that worldwide association could change the world.

The best way to lift the global economy is to create new jobs. The best way to create new jobs is to fund the startup of new small businesses. In numerous countries, a new business can be launched for $2,000 (US) or less. But let us use that benchmark.

If an investment fund were to be created to help all LinkedIn members invest in global small business development, at $1.00 per day per member, at the end of one year the sum in hand would be $82,125,000,000.00. At $2000 each to launch a new enterprise in a developing economy, even allowing for ten percent costs to manage the fund (because money handlers like PayPal take their cut first if the money is contributed online, and other administrative functions – like finding and evaluating the use of funds – do not happen in a vacuum), the net result would be the launch of 36,956,250 small businesses. . . in one year!

If each one of those business only produced one new job:

The CIA World Factbook ( ) states that the global workforce stood at 3,264,000,000 (2011) and unemployment at 9.2% (2012). That means 300,288,000 are unemployed. If each one of the new businesses launched created just one new job, it would reduce the global unemployment rate to 8.1% (263,331,750 workers) IN ONE YEAR!

Over five years, that unemployment rate could be reduced to 3.5% (115,506,750 workers), cut by more than 60% . . . all for $1.00 per day from 225,000,000 million of the most affluent people on earth . . . LinkedIn members.[i]

The concept is what I call “Ripple Up” economics. As people in impoverished economies rise out of abject poverty, their household incomes are stabilized, and new wealth is created by the increased productivity among the poor, they buy products and services to make their lives more convenient. The funds invested in those economies would circulate within them, stimulating further local growth. Those same funds would then be exported to buy locally unavailable products and the ripple effect would start to reach into more developed economies, creating more demand for products from Japan, the United States, Australia, Europe, and so on, and reducing unemployment in those countries as well.

All gross domestic product (GDP), the core measure of economic energy in the world, ultimately is labor. Unemployed workers are rife with latent potential. Helping them become productive, even in a miniscule way, releases the potential of their effort. That potential, once released, builds upon itself to increase the size of the local and global economic pie to the benefit of all. All for $1.00 per day.

Is that an “investment” business people should be interested in as the rising tide will lift all boats? These are your future customers we can lift from poverty!

Is the cost to any of us so high as to keep us from thinking this is a good return-on-investment (ROI) on our smallish donation to such a cause?

This is a simple idea but one that is actually doable in the face of innumerable global hindrances, especially political, to enhancing the common good. Why would we not do this? This is not an issue of any particular faith or political ideology. This is an issue of human flourishing that affects us all, and especially our children and grandchildren. Such a program would create a rising tide of tax revenues to shore up indebted governments, allow for greater global commitments to education and healthcare, and provide a peace-inducing philosophy (trade partners have been proven less likely to fight one another if it is likely to disrupt their economic health) of human unity.

Production and exchange function at the  very foundations of human community and are the source of all prosperity. Business pays for everything in this world, that is, the value created by the division but cooperation and collaboration of our labors and exchanges provides a better quality of life for all who participate.

Please share this essay…let’s get the conversation going. I know there are plenty of professionals on LinkedIn we can gather together to facilitate the creation of a charitable investment fund that can change the world . . . all for $1.00 per day.

Just think if we accomplished the same thing with Facebook . . . at more than 1 billion users! We could gut global unemployment in less than one year! This is an opportunity never before seen in human history, to work together as one people, globally connected. “What hath God wrought?”[ii]

[i] – “75% of LinkedIn users are college educated, with 27% at the graduate school level. Unsurprisingly, 39% of LinkedIn users make over $100K annually.”

[ii] Samuel Morse (citing Numbers 23:23) – first message sent on May 24, 1844 to officially open the Baltimore – Washington telegraph line.

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BAM Think Tank #4 – A Business Takeover (Combating Sex Trafficking)

A Business Takeover:
Combating the Business of the Sex Trade with Business as Mission

The fourth report released by the Global Business-as-Mission Think Tank is available here.

“Between 12 and 27 million people globally are currently caught in human trafficking and exploited for their labor or sexual services. To begin combating the monstrosities represented by these numbers, we must recognize that trafficking is an industry and the sex trade is a business. These are economically driven enterprises. We must intentionally and systematically acknowledge the important role of business as a strategy to fight the trade on both a macro and micro level.”

– from the Introduction.




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Business is Ministry

–          David B. Doty © 2013

The complexity of the ministry to which I have been called is exacerbated by the attempt to press the integration of its numerous aspects, especially theological research and education, and direct business practice. As I have shared with others that I am trying to raise capital funds to launch a new business, the question I most consistently hear is, “How is that related to your ministry?” The queries are honest simply because those asking have not made the logical connection from what looks like to them the two disparate activities.

A consistent foundational concern of maturing in Christian faith is the holistic re-integration of all areas of life – business, education, the arts, family, ideology, etc. ­– into their rightful spiritual significance. When God placed Adam in the Garden (Gen 2:15), He did not command Adam to till and tend the Garden. Rather, those functions were inherent in the created design of being human. Nor did God ask if Adam wanted a co-worker (a helpmate) and the material, intellectual, and spiritual exchanges that would occur within that relationship.

Over time, and especially the last few hundred years and in the progression of Western individualism and pragmatism, many of the various aspects of human life, described above by their institutionalized modeling, have fallen prey to the dis-integrating influence of the increasing complexity and specialization within human cultural and social development. Given that work is inherent to being human, as we have just seen, the influence of specialized work on the human psyche lends itself to compartmentalization of these various aspects of life and even of activities and disciplines within them. For example, specialization calls worship leaders to focus on the execution of music ministry but their time committed to perfecting their talents may undermine their commitment to reflect on the deep theological significance of the lyrics in the songs chosen since they may not necessarily understand their role as also being that of theologian and teacher. The hymnists of old understood the unification of these roles very well and the evidence is in how the lyrics are framed and shared through music.

But to answer the quizzical before me when I present the idea of starting a ministering business, I would begin with the assertion that “business is ministry.” I make this claim in Eden’s Bridge: The Marketplace in Creation and Mission but have found few other voices joining the chorus. More often we hear of business as mission (a means of ministering to specific needs in the world, as witness to God’s glory, or advancing God’s Kingdom in the world) or business for ministry (as a means to generate funding to support the work of churches and missions organizations). I find no fault in either of these concepts other than, perhaps, they fall somewhat short of understanding that business is ministry (as a means of our “being Christ” in the world).

Let me unpack that just a bit. I make an additional claim in Eden’s Bridge that profit should not be the aim of Christians in business. The argument goes that, first, there would have been not need of profit in the overt abundance in the Garden of Eden, and, second, the aim of Christian life is intimacy with God, that is, spiritual prosperity. The material and intellectual prosperity that comes by way of cooperation and collaboration in the marketplace are outcomes of that intimacy. That is not to say that everyone who prospers in the marketplace is intimate with God. Human beings have been bestowed with great strength of both imagination and endurance and can often produce great results, despite the thistles and thorns, by those strengths. But those successes, more typically oriented toward self indulgence, aggrandizement, and glory, are works without faith, just as dead as the futility of faith without works – an obvious theme in the integrative nature of the Gospel message.

So, how exactly is it that business is ministry? The answer lies in the nature of creation itself, which emanates from the nature of the godhead. The central focus of God as God and of creation as a product of God’s nature, character, and will, is relationship. Ministry is simply the mediation of the relationship between God and humankind, and business, as a vital institution in human society, is fundamentally about the facilitation of relationships. It is not the only institution that mediates the relationship of the divine and the temporal but it is perhaps as significant as any simply by the fact that it is the institution by which we survive and even thrive. Notice Jesus often fed people when he preached because 1) he knew they were hungry, but also 2) he knew people with grumbling stomachs are distracted people.

The core function of business is service through relationship. All gross domestic product is ultimately a function of labor, and labor alone. All the materials (and energy) used in production have already been provided by God for the abundant blessing of humankind. We simply manipulate what already exists. Therefore, the only real concern of business is relational stewardship – how we care for others. If we treat our vendors, customers, employees, and communities with the due respect and dignity of being created in the image of God, the outcomes are to be left in the hands of God’s determination. That is not to say we do not exercise due diligence to sustain the business and “give away the farm,” but it places the emphasis on what is not seen rather than what is seen. That is living by faith, or walking in the Light, or according to the Spirit, whichever descriptive phrasing we prefer.

God reveals himself to creation by 1) the order of creation (things tend to work consistently in certain ways to allow us a predictability of seasons and a stable environment, etc, as created by an unchanging God), and 2) in the character of the behavior of His people. We see Christ in another when they behave in godly ways. In the Old Testament, the term holy, when God says “be holy; for I am holy” (Lev 11:44), in Hebrew is qadosh a derivative of qadash which means to be clean, pure without defilement or sin. Sin is always framed as being an act committed against the interests of someone else (see Gen 39:9 or Ps 119:11). Sin can most simply be described as a(n unrighteous) violation of relationship.

Perhaps Micah 6:8 captures best what righteousness, the opposite of sin, looks like: “[God] has showed you what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” In other words, right relationship toward humankind (in justice and kindness) and toward God (in humility) are the echo we hear in Jesus’ words to “Love God and love others” (Lu 10:27, paraphrased).

The point is this: business is a place where we can live according to our relationship with God, that is, in holiness, as witnesses to the very reality of God. As I have argued before, holiness occupies empty space. It cannot be practiced in isolation but only exists within how we interact with others, whether on our behalf or theirs or both. Therefore how we steward every relationship is of vital importance to our spiritual transformation. We lean into our life in Christ by knowing him (in intimacy) and living according to God’s will and ways (in obedience). That can sometimes lead us to face and make decisions that seem irrational to the world (because they are irrational to the world). But that is because godly behavior introduces a bit more of God’s Kingdom which countermands the world.

In the end because business is fundamentally about serving others, and so is charged with a myriad of relational obligations – business is ministry. Without that understanding, we might retain the idea that it is only ancillary to our faith and fall short of all that God intends for it, or us, to be.


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BAM Think Tank Report #3 – Business as Mission in Mongolia

Business as Mission in Mongolia
BAM Think Tank Regional Group Report

The third report released by the Global Business-as-Mission Think Tank is available here.

“The purpose of the BAM Think Tank Mongolia Regional Group is to review the opportunities for BAM work in Mongolia and make projections regarding future possibilities, so that current and future BAM entrepreneurs and ventures may be more successful.”

– from the Introduction.


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Think Tank Report: BAM & The End of Poverty

BAM and the End of Poverty: BAM at the Base of the Pyramid

The second report released by the Global Business-as-Mission Think Tank is available here.

“The Issue Group on Business as Mission at the Base of the Pyramid focused on the role of business in alleviating poverty, and the unique opportunity Christians in business have to address the needs and injustice of the 2.5 billion people who live on less than US$2.50 per day (the base of the pyramid or “BoP”).” – from the Executive Summary.

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Global BAM Think Tank Publishes the First of Over 30 Reports

The Business as Mission Global Think Tank  has released its first report: 

“Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done… In Business:

Biblical Foundations for Business as Mission”

Click here for the downloadable report (in .pdf format)

I was honored to take part in this issue group and as a contributor to this paper. Please let me know your thoughts.

Other reports will be released over the coming weeks.

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