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The Mandate

Compassionate Capitalism

By Editorial Staff
Published April 21, 2008

By Rich DeVos

Don’t misunderstand. This rush to free enterprise is not just about making money. Of course people want financial security for themselves and their families. Why shouldn’t they? But they want more, much more.

People in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and China, like people everywhere, want deeper satisfaction as well. Not just material freedom, but freedom of the spirit. The freedom to become complete and whole persons. The freedom to become what God intends all of us to be. The freedom of mind and imagination that can only exist in a truly democratic society. The freedom not just to scrape by, but to find genuine satisfaction in life.

At the heart of the deep desire for change being experienced in Marxist-socialist countries is one simple fact: communism experienced a profound crisis of the spirit. It was not just communist economics that were bankrupt. The poverty of communism’s values brought about its collapse. The founder of the modern communist movement, Karl Marx, had an impoverished view of the human spirit. This view has not proven to be an adequate foundation on which to build either nations or individual lives.

On July 18, 1969, Jay Van Andel, my lifelong friend and partner in this business, demonstrated the compassionate capitalist’s view of people when an explosion and fire in our plant in Ada, Michigan, almost destroyed our dream. The deadly blast occurred just before midnight. A large building that housed both office and assembly lines was almost engulfed in flame when Jay arrived on the scene. Employees had already risked their lives to climb aboard tractors to pull semitrailers and a tanker from the blazing warehouse. Others were about to enter the 14,000-foot burning building to rescue files loaded with important documents. Jay stopped them with these unforgettable words: “Forget the papers! Get the people out!”

What we think about people matters a great deal. If we think of them as children of God, possessing a divine spark and having God-given worth, it follows that we ought to treat all people with respect and dignity. But if we think of people in a strictly material sense, devoid of any spirituality and gaining worth only through the state, then what happens? We need only to look at communist history to answer that question.

From Compassionate Capitalism, by Rich DeVos, © 1993, Compassionate Capitalism Foundation and Dutton Books, Muskegon, MI. Used with permission. Available from your local bookstore or the Compassionate Capitalism Foundation, (800) 367-2892.

Rich DeVos is co-founder of the Amway Corporation, an American company that has two million independent distributors in 70 countries around the world, including China.


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Your comments are welcome!

I just fell into my hands Polish version of this book. Rich DeVos opened my eyes to the essence of capitalism. Here in Poland, which was for decades a socialist state, an understanding of what capitalism is the key. Without understanding this, people who had overthrown communism are now ready to take to the streets to fight the system, which not long ago they introduced themselfs.
I am very impressed with this book.

Posted by Jacob on 07/18/2011 07:44 AM #

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

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Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

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The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

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In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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