Chapter 23 » 23.55

The individual and the community

Work and economic affairs

When I was a teenager and beginning to think about a career, my father advised me to choose between working with people and working with things, and I sensed an implied judgment that working with people was more worthy.

In the event, the decision was made for me when I married a self-employed engineer with no interest in the record-keeping side of his business. We now work very happily together from home, designing and supplying special purpose machinery to the brush industry. We deliberately keep our business small and more or less manageable. We are not interested in the financial dealings, stocks and shares, investments and take-overs which the press seems to regard as the essence of business.

I see the basis of industry as being a global network of barter, a mutual dependency, a contract of trust for the supply of the necessities and luxuries of life. The opportunities of industry are as large as the needs of the world’s people. Every object we use has to be designed, manufactured and sold by someone. It is an honourable occupation to apply one’s talents to the marketplace. One person’s need becomes another’s opportunity, his livelihood, his dignity. ‘Working with things’ is not devoid of scope for a spiritual attitude…

Perhaps a function of industry is to reflect that of God that is creation and glory. We can be creative in our small way in God’s image; we can work in partnership with God, combining natural and human resources; we can extract order from chaos.

Rachel Jackson, 1990

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