Introduction: Role of Property and Profits
The “light’ and “dark” sides approach developed by Richard Foster to explain the role of property can be understood well in the light of the “rights” and “duties” the ownership of property brings with it. The role of properties and profits are formed and defined on the basis of the rights of the owner (or its benefits to the owner) and the owner’s obligations towards others while exercising those rights or simply possessing (or acquiring) those properties and profits.
God has given us enough property in common and the blessing to be fruitful have dominion over the property. (Genesis 1:26). Bible explains property as God’s gift and provides rights to enjoy private property and gain (profit) from it if they are obtained properly and used responsibly. With this in mind, we can conclude one can possess property and the appropriate benefits (profits) acquired from property can be used for personal satisfaction.
“If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat.” (Proverbs 20:13). Scripture regards property and profit as the reward for our labor. By mixing our labor in the common property of nature, we add value to it. And the benefits (property and profits) obtained through one’s labor becomes his/her. An important issue in today’s world is: what is the appropriate level of benefit one can privately own? The answer is: “as much as one can make use of any advantage of life before it spoils, so much he may by his labor fix a property in; whatever is beyond this, is more than his share, and belongs to others. (Donaldson 159). This clarifies the role of property and profits or more generally, the appropriate human behavior guided by rights and duties of property.
Analysis of Practices of Property “Rights” and “Duties”
After this general introduction of roles of property and profits lets introduce a case.
[Case 1] Cashews are America and Europe’s favorite nut. But the poor farmers who grow the premium product often bear the greatest risk in the trade. The workers engaged in Cashew processing earn 30p (almost 45 cents) a day and suffering permanent damage to their hands from corrosive liquid during handling the nuts. About 50,000 to 100,000 people in south India work in this industry in very poor working conditions (though it has improved a little bit in the past few years) where they earn well below the living cost of India because of unfair trading practices by supermarkets.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
The traders (supermarket in western countries and exporter in India) in the above case, do not strive to work for the glory of God by doing the best for others and even disrespect the God’s...