Reading the book “Just Business” by Alexander Hill, it was very interesting to go through the topic of Christian ethics for business. Looking at different scenarios that managers have to confront and it shows how nerve-wracking, heart wrenching and also guilt producing that it could be. The definition of ethics is the study of “should” and of doing the “right thing.” The three main characteristics that were presented and emphasized in the Bible: God is holy. God is just. God is love.
Hill also talked about integrity, fairness and compassion that mirror holiness, justice and love. I loved how Hill supports his points by having Bible verses. For example he writes the “salt and light” of the world (Matthew 5:13-16) is the third force for good. I agree with many of the points Hill says such as “we cannot serve two masters at the same time” (Matthew 6:24) and it specifies that we cannot serve both God and money. They were also talking about justice procedural rights that focus on fair processes in decision-making.
Substantive rights are what procedural rights seek to protect. Merit links the concepts of cause and effect.
Contractual justice is limited to three duties; we must not violate a negative injunction by causing harm to others, we must respect procedural justice and we must fulfill our contractual promises (Hill 46). Love is a universal word and many would consider it to be “the centerpiece of Christian ethics” (Hill 53). Love includes empathy, mercy and self-sacrifice. Empathizing with others would include by celebrating with their triumphs and shouldering their pain. Mercy is quite hard to do because it takes action on their behalf and takes initiative in forgiving. In my experience, there are times when I do have trouble forgiving people, yet God gave me the strength to forgive the person. This will probably come up more often while taking care of business. He also shows visuals such as the tables and drawings that make it easier to get the gist of what he was talking about. Part Two – False Exits
This addresses “Dual Morality”, “Law”, and “Agency” which they are known as false exits “because they deposit ultimate ethical authority in human instrumentalities – business culture, government and corporate government – rather than in God’s character” (Hill 67). Dual morality “rejects the notion that universal principles of right and wrong exist” (Hill 69). It also helps me have a visual when he shows examples of CEOs and what kind of decisions they have to make and what would be the ethical thing to do. Law is another false exits, when one presumes that if an action is legal, it is still morally acceptable as well. There are times when there are many people just follow the law and assume that the law is right and the ethical way. There are flaws in the system and Hill shows a diagram in page 98, figure 6.1 illustrates the tension. Acts that are both ethical and legal
Ethics —————————————————- Acts that are unethical but legal
Law —————————————————- Acts that are both illegal and unethical
Agency is the third false exit that talks about the problems that arises when the values of the employee diverge from those of the employer. It was intriguing to learn about the legalistic purist, the accommodating purist. These few chapters opened my eyes to see what kind of false exits that people use in the business world. Now I am aware of what people could use as false exits.
Part Three – Topics
Honesty and Deception is more common in the business environment but it is quite difficult concepts to apply. Honesty “builds trust, establishes community and protects the dignity of the audience” (Hill 125), which allows partners to rely on each other and fosters community and respects each one’s dignity. He also talks about deception and how justice condemns deception and it could lead to disaster and consequences. No right to hear the truth, exaggeration, and ambiguity are more deceptions that people use in the business environment. The other topics that were discussed were: Concealment and disclosure; Employer-Employee Relations; Employee Rights; Discrimination and Affirmative Action; the Environment and Property. The topic that stood out to me was the Environment because I have learned about different ethical views such as the anthropocentric view and the biocentric view 1 and 2.
Hill also explains what the Role of Business is that even “scripture makes it clear that our task is to responsibly steward God’s creation in the hear and now” (228) and there are times that one would have to make difficult decisions. These topics have given me a new perspective towards business. Overall, “Just Business,” by Alexander Hill, was an outstanding book to read especially when one is planning to go into the field of business. It was interesting to see how business runs with the combination of Christian ethics. I would highly recommend for other students to read this especially if they are looking into business. It was a great opportunity to read what it is like to be ethical in the business world, in comparison, to what it is like to be not ethical in the business world.
Hill, Alexander (2008). Just Business: Christian Ethics for the Marketplace. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.