I’d like to propose a new business plan, based on this: “Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” This is, of course, Jacob Marley from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and it’s his response to Scrooge saying he was always a good man of business. Throughout the story business is seen in a bad light: the selfish and soulless act of making money to make money. Everything Scrooge does is calculated in pounds and pence. Nothing is valuable to him unless it earns him money. He’s Oscar Wilde’s cynic, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
According to the specifications of my new business plan, the curriculum of our business schools will change somewhat. We’ll have courses examining the philosophical and practical applications of charity and generosity. We’ll learn how to combat ignorance and want. We’ll learn to share what we have and we’ll learn that we don’t want more than we need. Internships will be at shelters and soup kitchens or anywhere that people are in need of aid and support. Business acumen will describe the ability to sense when a person needs kindness or encouragement. Big business will mean that everybody is acting together as a community of epic proportions to spread happiness and good will. And even when we mind our own business, we’ll be minding the welfare of people around us, because they are our business!
And “business as usual” will be benevolence, cheer, and generosity of spirit the whole year long; the whole year will be “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people around them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
Merry Christmas, fellow magpies! Peace and joy to all.