Alan Sugar "Your Fired!"

I watched the Apprentice last night and realised this programme is out of touch with where business and economics needs to be. Success cannot be measured in bank notes. There are a number of interesting reports coming to the General Assembly this year. The one that has caught my attention so far is entitled, " The Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity" This report may not have a snappy title but it could prove to be a catalyst to spur the Christian Community into action. Christians need to understand that we have a vital part to play in reshaping the way business and economics are viewed in our society. And i think we need to give some of the corporate models a run for their souls! The report asks the big question. " What is the economy for? It then gives a quote, from C Wigglesworth, which is as follows ‘the economy is for God, which means it is also for my neighbour: it is for my neighbour which means it is also for God' At the heart of this report is a reminder to everyone that good economic practice is embedded in social relationships. It highlights the fact that for too long it has been promoted as existing for the markets. The report goes on to talk about the danger of following the markets and argues that unless the "invisible hand" of the markets is controlled in some way the vulnerable and the poor will always end up being at the end of the line. There are some interesting ideas in the report, encouraging congregations to think about setting up Credit Unions, suggesting that the church becomes more proactive in engaging with those involved with economic education. The underlying assumption is that we have much to contribute to a debate that talks about wellbeing, and the purpose of an economy that is not just about making money. So should we be challenging the assumption of programmes like "The Apprentice"? What are we saying to people when we treat Alan Sugar like a god. When we take his philosophy and hold it up as an inspiration that the winner is the team that makes the most money. Being a successful business person is surely about quality, about contentment, about peace of mind, about being happy, about fairness, about integrity and much more. Its absolutely crazy, to have the cras ideal of the winner is the one with the biggest pile of money. Should the winning team not be judged on qualities that go beyond making money? I think the BBC might find itself running a programme that is rapidly out of touch with the moral sympathies of its viewers. Would I want to work for Sugar? Would anyone. Would i want my son or my daughter to become soley motivated by money? You see if the bottom line is profit, Jesus asks the question, " What does it profit a person, if they gain the whole world, and lose their soul" Its time to put the soul back into business. Perhaps that's not a bad title for the Church's latest report ‘ Its Time to put Soul Back into the Economy"

Posted By: Italker   On: 18 Apr 2012   At: 9:18pm

Thank you to all who have contributed to this post. I’m certainly looking forward to engaging a wider group of people tonthink more about how we can create a just and equitable society. As I’ve often said in the past it is not money that is the root of all evil, it is the love of money.  yes Louise I’ll look that book about again.


Posted By: Louise Hankin   On: 17 Apr 2012   At: 9:20pm

Hi Albert - an interesting debate ahead then!  If you still have it, might be worth opening up the Jesus CEO book you got the other year.  He could teach Lord Sugar a thing or two…


Posted By: Alec Carstairs   On: 10 Apr 2012   At: 9:44am

As Christians, we should embrace business enterprise and profit.  However, a successful business must be sustainable as providing a product or service which customers need or want at a price that can be afforded.  A short term profit cannot create a sustainable business.  Instead, a sustainable business must be based on a set of values which attract people and customers.  Such values will be based on Christian princples including love your neighbour.  The stronger the values the stronger and more sustainable is the business. 

The concept of ‘putting the Soul back into the economy’ is appealing as long as it is done in a positive basis and not one that results in reduced profit or makes a business uncompetitve in its market. At EY, we are talking about Making the Difference for our clients, people and society.  Still some debate about making the difference for society as to what it really means for us.  It should and could be the competitive advantage for EY and for any business.


Posted By: Gordon Stewart   On: 8 Apr 2012   At: 9:32am

Note the point about Credit Unions. I became involved on the board of my local Credit Union last year because I believe they have a major role to play in delivering financial services that are based on principles of cooperation and mutuality and can serve needs that the commercial banks will not touch. I am also appalled at the interest rates charged by the ‘alternative’ sources of short -term lending - the PayDay loan companies and the like.

Interestingly, under current (new this year) legislation I think the Church of Scotland could establish one Credit Union for the whole church and by virtue of size be able to offer a very interesting range of services to members: worth checking this out as a possibility.


Of course, you could take my approach and encourage Christians to engage and be active in what already exists in their local community.


As Christians we need to demonstrate that we are not afraid of ‘mammon’, but that we embrace it’s appropriate place in society and we can be an influence and example for good.


Posted By: italker   On: 5 Apr 2012   At: 6:17pm

You make a good point. my excuse for watching is that it allows me to understand what is happening in the media.


Posted By: Helmut   On: 5 Apr 2012   At: 10:24am

Whilst in total agreement, I should like to out us as telly non-watchers - we have not even got a box! Admittedly we are loosing out on one or the other program, but basically we consider it a winning situation. The plethora of crappy programs can only exist given a sufficient number of viewers!

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