TaN: God provides for all our needs; man provides for his own wants. Regardless of how indispensable man-made commodities may appear to us, they are merely wants. So, if and when we let our wants rule over our needs, this is when we encounter problems. And, this is exactly what is the driving force behind modern business.
Business has always provided for our wants – and only our wants, never our needs. The difference is the priority.
Profit has always been at the core, the very purpose, of business, from the very beginning. In fact, if it were not for profit, business would not be viable. The very purpose of the existence (or establishment) of business is to gain profit – otherwise it would be a charitable (or eleemosynary) organization. It would not be able to sustain itself.
However, what changed was the degree of emphasis on gaining or obtaining profit. It used to be that business provided a product or a service. In return, monetary compensation or gains are received. Even though profit was foremost, it was not utmost. For as long as there is net profit at the end of a fiscal period, it was good, it was acceptable. Moreover, the product or service provided addressed a simple but worthwhile purpose – i.e., to make life easier for the consumer. Products and services address local wants and wealth was conserved.
Today, consumers are looked upon as sources of revenue and business is employing all means – even using human psychology against consumers and targeting them – to separate consumers and their money. Products and services has “devolved” into things that are totally unnecessary, wasteful, and worthless.
It is high time that consumers wise up and not be gullible victims of modern business. This is one of the major reasons behind rampant poverty. Even with meager income, if consumers are able to make wise purchases and extricate themselves from the grip of modern business, there would be less suffering.
In addition, if consumers will only band together and force business to provide better and more meaningful products and services, business will have no choice but to accede. Believe it or not, by sheer number and the fact that business is totally dependent on the patronage of consumers, business can be made to provide truly quality products and services instead of dictating on the consumers what they should want and purchase. This is achieved by making wise purchases. By patronizing only truly worthwhile and quality products and services, consumers can force businesses that put out worthless and wasetful products and services out of business.
Only by refusing to purchase products and services that do not truly make our quality of life better can consumers change the landscape of business. But, this must be predicated or preceeded by educating consumers on what are truly worthwhile and sustainable products and services and lifestyles. This will be the most challenging and Herculean task because business will used every “weapon in its arsenal” to ensure that it does not happen – because business will no longer enjoy consumer wealth unless they come up with quality goods and services.
TaN: Upon creating man, God gifted us with certain inalienable and inviolable rights. These rights, since deemed to be God-given, cannot be taken away – not even suspended, not even temporarily – by anyone (but the Giver Himself). These rights include the right to life, right to choose, and right to self-determination or autonomy.
In principle, only the giver can take away. Since life was given to man by God, it is only He who can take it away. When God gave us free will, He gave us the right to choose – between good or righteousness and evil. And, by giving us the right to choose, He, inadvertently, also gave us the right to self-determination – and He will judge us according to our deeds and decisions in the end.
To take another’s life is neither within the authority nor the rights of any man – not even of the government. This is precisely the fundamentals in the controversy of death penalty (or capital punishment). The argument against the death penalty is that, no matter how heineous the criminal act, no one can know whether the perpetrator of the act will, in the end, repent and even turn out to be a boon to mankind or s/he may be destined to have an offspring that will change the world for the better. The argument that despite God being all-knowing, He still reserves His judgement until a man’s life is over because He does not know which of the infinite possible decisions a man may make arising from the free will given by Him. For all that is known, the worst criminal may abruptly repent and become righteous before he dies – much like some of the Biblical personalities such as Paul, who was a killer before he was called by God and made a complete 180-degree turnaround. This is the power of free will – that ev en God is incapable of the determining which path a man shall make until the act is done.
As to the right to choose, this is the direct result of the gift of free will. By virtue of having free will, man is given the right to make a choice and to take responsibility (or the consequences) of whatever choice s/he made. To take away this God-given right is wrong. To dictate on to others what one should and should not do or say is a violation of this right to choose. What or who gives a man the right or the power to remove or to violate the God-given right to choose (via free will) from another when even God Himself respects it. He does not dictate upon us what and how to think, to say, and to act. He merely provides us with guidelines and anecdotes (via the Scriptures) and permits us to make our decision as to heed them or not.
And, the right to autonomy is integrally intertwined with the right to choose because how we live our lives and how our lives unwind and proceed are direct results of the choices we make from our right to choose. To restrict how a person lives his/her life, to determine for him/herself how s/he should or will live, is not only violating the right to autonomy but also the right to choose.
In conclusion, though these rights are inalienable and inviolable, they are not absolute or infinite. All rights have corresponding limitations: responsibilities. As they say, one man’s right is another man’s responsibility. In the exercise of these rights, man should always remember and understand that, among the limitations, it should not be at the expense or violative of other people’s rights. This is our responsibility – i.e., to see to it that others’ rights are respected.