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Entrepreneurship and Religion

Entrepreneurship and Religion

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This rich and detailed book makes a very timely contribution to extending our understanding of entrepreneurship in its social context. Using selected examples, the respected contributors show how the values developed in religious beliefs and practices shape entrepreneurship.

Chapter 8: The Hutterite Brethren: Old World Values and New Age Technologies

Robert L. Malach and Sandra Malach

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


Robert L. Malach and Sandra Malach INTRODUCTION Hutterites have been living successfully in collective agricultural colonies for over 400 years. They are profoundly religious, applying their belief in community ownership of property, pacificism (separation of church and state), and communal agrarian lifestyle as God’s directions for proper living. Each community is symbolic of Noah’s Ark. While the outward appearance of the Hutterite Brethren appears old fashioned, a closer look reveals how up to date and competitive their economic model is and how well it is poised to meet twenty-first-century challenges. Outward appearances can often be misleading and nowhere more so than when one first encounters members of the Hutterite Brethren. The men with their beards, straw or black hats, dark pants and suspenders and the women with their long dresses, aprons and polka dot bandanas look similar to the Amish or Mennonite brethren. While there are some similarities, it would be a serious mistake to base assumptions regarding how Hutterites live, worship and work based on knowledge of the Amish or Mennonites. The most significant differences are the communal lifestyle of the Hutterites and the early adoption of agricultural innovations. To understand the Hutterites communal lifestyle and business model one must first have some knowledge of how their history and religious beliefs are integrated into their communal lifestyle. Hutterites have practiced their faith and lifestyle in self-contained communities for over four centuries (Hostetler, 1974). Important aspects of their faith include: (1) a belief in the Community of Goods, not personal...

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