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Abel, the first altruistic entrepreneur 28 octobre 2008

Par Thierry Klein dans : Altruistic Capital - in english,Posts in english.
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(As per my latest paper where I tried to define a new form of humanitarian enterprise).

In the Bible the first donations in history are those of Abel and Cain and their offering to God. Cain is a farmer and offers a part of the produce of his land, while Abel offers the first born of his flock.

God looks more favorably upon Abel’s offering – the text doesn’t explain the reason of His choice but from my point of view it’s because Abel offers something that although actually worth little (a first born doesn’t offer much meat and doesn’t produce any milk) does however have a very big emotional value and means a lot for the future.

Actually Abel opens his capital up whereas Cain offers only a share of his profit.

Cain is at best similar to the tycoon I mention in my other post who having achieved success donates part of his wealth – and this doesn’t cost him that much. (At worst he acts as those companies – or rather like the people who are responsible for such ventures – investing into charities as a marketing stunt).

The Bible talks a lot about the difference between capital and income, and the superiority of capital. The story of Esau and Jacob (birthright – capital – exchanged for a meal of lentils – produce) is yet another example.

Of course there are many other possible interpretations here. For René Girard, God prefers meat to vegetables because animals play the role of scapegoats (however the first born of a flock doesn’t offer the best qualities to become a good scapegoat able to divert violence, according to Girard himself).

Deep down I like my version better – and it also suits my theories better too…

I’m also aware that even though Abel’s offering pleased God things got tough for him shortly after and I certainly hope it won’t be premonitory.

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