5.4.2 Action: making the ‘universal destination’ particular

Back to 5.4.1

Unit 5 Contents


So what does all this study of business and economics mean for you?

This question of what we should do comes up at the end of this unit because we are following the pastoral spiral.

The module began by asking you to bring to mind your experience of private business – that is, of investment, of production of goods or services, of trading, and as a consumer.

At the second stage of the spiral, we gave attention to historical context, and through that to the economic and political debate in which this topic is now addressed.

During the third stage – by far the most demanding part of the unit – we have looked at resources we find in Scripture and in the living tradition of CST on business and economics.

We are now at the final point in the circle.  What should do differently in light of what we have learned?

Perhaps you should spend your life setting up and running a business that will contribute to making real the ‘solidary market economy’.  I strongly hope that, for some people, this study will provoke exactly that.  There are other things that are just as worth doing with one’s life, but there isn’t much that is more worth doing than that.  This is simply because such a business is a very concrete, practical way of benefiting people and of contributing to the common good.  It is a realistic, hard-headed way to love your neighbour.  For some people it is their vocation.

But it is not for everybody.  I don’t think it is for me – if it were, I wouldn’t be working on writing this module.  (Or rather, if it were, you’d have to pay to access it!)

But even if it is not for you, what we have looked at should prompt us all to think about how we should engage in economic transactions in markets.

To conclude, you are asked simply to spend a bit of time exploring the websites of some organizations that represent, more or less, the kind of participation in business life that a ‘solidary market economy’ requires.

In doing this, we follow the fourfold distinction of investment, production/supply, trade and consumption introduced at the start of this unit.

1. Investment

In their early origins, some major financial institutions were set up explicitly to bring benefits to people who were badly off – so in line with the ‘preferential option for the poor’ as well as the universal destination of goods – although many of them have fallen far from those origins and become just capitalist.  Those origins are evident in the names some financial companies have, such as Scottish Widows and Equitable Life.

Today there are still some banks and other financial bodies which are committed at least to seeking actively to bring about beneficial outcomes through their investments.  These can be seen as part of the wider movement of ‘ethical investment’.


Website exploration

At site of Ethical Investments (a business), page headed ‘Ethical Investments’

Triodos Bank, page headed, ‘Mission: Find out how we make money work for positive change’

UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF)

You could easily find various other bodies involved in ‘ethical investment’ on the web.


2. & 3. Supply of and trade in ‘primary products’, manufactured goods, and services


Website exploration


Ethical Trading Initiative

There is a lot on this website – see, for example, under the ‘Resources’ tab.

Primary products and processed goods

1. Fairtrade Foundation, page on ‘Producers’

2. Clipper, tea and coffee supplier: ‘Who we are’ and other pages


1. Ecover (makes ecological cleaning products)

2. Piccalilly (makes children’s clothes)

3. Fairphone (makes mobile phones)


At Tourism Concern, ‘Ethical Tour Operators’ Group’


Below are websites of two initiatives, both with similar names, which seek to promote businesses of various kinds that will directly benefit poor people.  Both of these are Christian initiatives, but this is not very obvious from the websites, and they seek to involve people regardless of their faith.


Transformational Business Network

Transforming Business


4. Consumption


Website exploration


People Tree

Ethical Superstore: ‘Our Vision’



Concluding reflection

How can you contribute to making real the ‘solidary market economy’?

Can you only sow a few seeds?  Or might it be your vocation to do much more than this?

The next page, which concludes Unit 5 by reviewing what we have covered, gives an opportunity to take this reflection further.



End of 5.4.2

Go to 5.4.3 Review and discussion of Unit 5

Outline of Module A

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