Doing Business in the World without Becoming Worldly

Volume 58:1
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Doing Business in the World without Becoming Worldly

Author Lindon J. Robison Author David R. Just Author Jeffrey R. Oliver

In this article, the authors claim that understanding much of predictably irrational economic behavior (misbehaving) requires accounting for a frequently overlooked class of goods called relational goods. They also claim that understanding the nature of relational goods helps people understand how to do business in the world without becoming worldly. In terms of economics, relational good are broken down into socio-emotional goods and attachment-value goods. From a gospel perspective, relational goods include spiritual goods and sacred symbols. The authors also distinguish relational goods from commodities and show that the two are not substitutes for each other and that exchanging relational goods for money is not possible without changing the nature of the relational goods. Commodifying relational goods produces a scarcity of relational goods, but it is possible to include relational goods in exchanges of commodities. It is also possible to decommodify commodities.