A book assesses socially responsible and religiously motivated approaches to capitalism.
In this volume, Albertson (Religious Worldview for the Business Professional, 2013, etc.) expands on his earlier work exploring the relationship between Christianity and business. The author addresses different methods of making money while also incorporating incentives beyond profit maximizing, primarily those that feature a Christian worldview. Albertson guides the reader through companies that describe themselves as “tentmakers,” “social entrepreneurs,” or “business as mission,” exploring the commonalities and variations of the assorted tactics. The book looks at the history of citing Christianity as a business value, drawing connections among the practices of fifth-century religious sects, the blend of mission and marketplace that created the British Empire, and modern-day stores like Hobby Lobby and Forever 21 that expressly integrate a Christian stance into their business procedures. The volume also examines what Albertson calls the “Social Innovation Movement,” a more secular strategy for mission-driven commerce (“The beauty of socially responsible investment is that everyone’s vision of a brighter future is not the same”). The “intentional capitalism” narrative constitutes about a third of the text; the remainder consists of a substantial notes section, delivering both citations and discussions; an appendix that serves as a literature review; and a thorough and detailed annotated bibliography that fills half the pages here. Although the narrative makes up only a small portion of the work, Albertson does a solid job of identifying the key questions about intentional capitalism and its diverse forms and providing the reader with plenty of useful information for additional study. Some readers may find Albertson’s tendency to invent his own definitions (“I am not a historian, so what I consider to be ‘modern history’ differs from that of many historians….It is my assertion that contemporary history begins sometime after modern history in the mid-twentieth century”) off-putting. But on the whole, the author’s analysis, based on a thorough knowledge of the topic, remains solid.
A worthy and concise explanation of mission-driven business theory, with resources for further reading.