A Review of Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing by Chris Horst and Peter Greer
By: Janessa Dyk
Senior Business Major from Portland, Oregon
Reviewed June 30, 2016
Many times people glorify non-profit organizations. They believe that they are the key to solving many social problems that societies face. Chris Horst and Peter Greer in their book, "Entrepreneurship and Human Flourishing" argue that business and entrepreneurship is the key to solve many of the problems associated with poverty. This is seen through the benefits of entrepreneurship on sustainability, happiness, and efficiency.
Horst and Greer point out that we as humans, formed in the image of God, were created to work. Contrary to what many people think, work is a blessing and a way to praise and glorify God, not a punishment resulting from when sin entered the world. When people work and create goods and services out of the work of their hands, they become co-creators with God (Horst & Greer, p. 78, 2014). This results in higher levels of joy and satisfaction. By using their God given talents and skills to create something of value and to give to others, people experience higher levels of happiness.
Entrepreneurship is also a sustainable model for business. The business cycle for a flourishing entrepreneur creates a good or service, sells it, invests back into the business, and gives back to the community (Horst & Greer, p. 58, 2014). By having a thriving business, people and places around the business also succeed. By earning a profit and being successful, the small business is able to expand and hire local workers. By doing this, the business is not only meeting a need of the market, but also providing work for those in the community. This enables the workers to provide for themselves and their families; therefore breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Because of this, business is a primary way to help the poor elevate themselves out of poverty (Horst & Greer, p. 7, 2014).
Microfinance is one manner in which non-profit organizations have used the business sector to help people help themselves. In June of 2016 I had the opportunity to hear Chris Horst speak on such programs at the Values & Capitalism Summer Honors Program sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Horst showed us that while microfinancing is not the answer to all poverty related problems, it does bring life to those in need when utilized and enacted correctly.
Horst said that organizations wanting to help by distributing microloans should look not only to supply finances, but also training. Many people living in poverty that acquire these loans use them to start a business. Those people giving out the loans need to recognize that some of these people in need are running a business out of necessity and that they might not have any previous training. Therefore, organizations should provide training and education along with the loan. Additionally, programs should be set up regarding issues with health, education, family, and spirituality by having a life transformed through Christ.
Finally, it has been observed that when businesses succeed, countries flourish. Horst and Greer illustrate this point by comparing North and South Korea. In 1976 North and South Korea were very comparable in their per capita output. Currently, due to the fact that North Korea has closed itself off to the rest of the world its economy and people are suffering; its people live in poverty and struggle to survive. Meanwhile, South Korea is ranked one of the healthiest economies in the world and has many successful businesses providing goods, services, and capital to the country like Samsung, Hyundai, and LG (Horst & Greer, p. 12, 2014). By observing these two countries that were originally very similar and have since distinguished themselves, it can be concluded that the creation of jobs leads to the success of a country and its people.
In the end, the purpose of humans, and especially Christians, is to bring glory to God and to love one another. The purpose of business is to improve our lives and those in its community and to create value for its stakeholders (Horst & Greer, p. 17, 2014). When entrepreneurs are able to start a business, with the goal of helping others as the mission of its business, then the profits will follow. By doing this, people in poverty are able to attain jobs, save money, and provide for their families. This enables them to change the future of their children and their grandchildren. Therefore, entrepreneurs not only impact the communities around them, but also future generations.