Sphere Sovereignty 101

We participate in a vast array of social structures: families, businesses, unions, churches, schools. Yet despite the immense influence that these institutions wield, their roles, privileges, and obligations are not addressed in the social contract.

Appears in Fall 2005 Issue: The best of Comment
August 1st, 2005

Be prepared. The old Boy Scout motto rings true in the boardroom as well as it does on the camp site. It's not that I wasn't prepared for the question; in a sense, I've been preparing my whole life for this sort of question. Still, one's language and examples must be appropriate to the situation. My pointer paused while my mind raced.

A moment before, I had been walking through my recent report bearing the hefty title Competitively Working in Tomorrow's Construction, explaining to the suits arranged around the table what the organization of work would look like in the construction sector of the future. Construction is a tough pool to stay afloat in, given the up-and-down nature of the industry. In fact, investors use construction as an indicator: where it goes, the rest of the economy is sure to follow. Market uncertainty is not the only variable. Safety regulations, labour laws, union interests, and the price of raw materials can run a company into the ground if it isn't fast on its feet. The men around the table in front of me were leaders in this industry. They were used to playing hardball.

One man had been idly leafing through some of the Work Research Foundation's promotional material while I talked. He seemed interested, yet his expression was quizzical. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him raise an inquiring finger. I stopped, and he leaned his capable bulk forward in the chair.

"Your materials here say that your think tank's mission includes influencing people to a 'Christian view of work'. What does that have to do with this?" He thumped his finger on the construction industry report.

Back to thinking fast. I'd given the speech before, but it wasn't the one I had prepared for this group. But the premise driving our think tank is that core assumptions do shape practical policy. I fumbled for a dry-erase marker.

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