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A Business Angle on Gay Rights, Social Change

March 20, 2014

Those of us who think about social change mostly from the perspective of ethical, spiritual or related factors should not forget the role that business, and particularly larger companies, often play.

This is brought out clearly in the example of the prominent role that corporations and their policy changes seems to have had in advancing same-sex marriage and various benefits and non-discrimination for the LGBT community.  There is an interesting article by the Wall Street Journal on this here.

I encourage you to read the article….  Building from it, the point I am making here, for myself and a mostly spiritually-oriented audience, is that we should recognize and appreciate something about business…. Its profit motive can sometimes bring social advances along with it, as well as its huge potential for trampling human rights.  While the drive for gain can often leave workers or the public with a raw deal, it can also bring forward the good effects of a pragmatic, less emotion-laden approach to things.  Things that are controversial in the broader culture, and in which important change gets frozen, or nearly so.

Have you seen or experienced examples of this? 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Felix Alexander permalink
    March 21, 2014 12:41 am

    Dunno that I think much of this. The article you link to explains that they’re not doing it to be right; they’re doing it to make a buck. Following false gods will sometimes lead you down the right path, because even if they have nothing else in common, a false god still has the same name as the true god.

    Don’t get me wrong; they are doing the right thing, and it’s good that they’re considering their employees as human beings who have lives outside of the hours they’re paid. But if you’re praising these companies for doing the right thing when they’re doing the right thing by hunting for money, you’re just cherry-picking, or committing the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.

    (However, I am aware that many of these people will be quite ethical in their lives outside of work, but their job description is “hunt for Mammon”, and they’re good at their job. Or, to put in another way, every human acts differently in groups than we do in our heads, which is why “doing good” needs to be as central and intrinsic as “making money” is in every group.)

    • March 21, 2014 1:35 pm

      Thanks for some good thoughts on this, Felix. I’m in agreement with what you’re saying. And I didn’t mean to merely be praising the pertinent companies (for one thing, who knows how many and what their true motives were). In many cases, the bottom line (financially) was probably the main factor… NOT a dependable moral guide by ANY stretch.

      At the same time, I do observe a general trend… at least a slight one… toward more “conscious capitalism”, which includes consideration of people’s rights, needs, and feelings. And there are organizations, mainly for just the last couple decades or so, for “socially responsible investing” and such (capital behind corporations, from people who DO care and WILL pull their money if things aren’t right). I guess my main point is the happy exceptions that exist to money corrupting… and this may be an example of it (though certainly not taken that way by anti-gay people.)

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