In a recent BBC article, Sean Coughlan reports a novel idea from Oxford academic Will Crouch,
He argues that someone becoming an investment banker could create sufficient wealth to make philanthropic donations that could make a bigger difference than someone choosing to work in a “moral” career such as an aid charity.
Indeed, there seems to be an ever increasing suspicion, even among Christians, that certain career paths are per se more moral than others. However, as Fr. Robert Sirico writes in The Entrepreneurial Vocation,
Every person created in the image of God has been given certain natural abilities that God desires to be cultivated and treated as good gifts. If the gift happens to be an inclination for business, stock trading, or investment banking, the religious community should not condemn the person merely on account of his or her profession.
This is unfortunate, to say the least. Crouch argues that if more ethically inclined individuals would pursue careers in banking, for example, they would significantly increase the resources at their disposal to help those in need. According to Crouch,
The direct benefit a single aid worker can produce is limited, whereas the philanthropic banker’s donations might indirectly help 10 times as many people.
Using some basic, ball-park calculations, he estimates that “an ethically inclined banker who donated half their income could save 10,000 lives” throughout their working lifetime. What might be the difference in our neighborhoods, country, and world if more charitably inclined people were open to business related careers? Certainly, it is not everyone’s gift, and there is nothing wrong or deficient about being a social worker, for example, but perhaps there are some who have avoided such a path, such a calling, simply because of an unfair stigma.
Will Crouch offers a different perspective:
We are calling on people to be like Robin Hood, but by earning the money rather than stealing it.
A novel idea, if you ask me.