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If business could behave like religions

Religions are businesses:

  • They all have brands and logos.
  • They sell products and use incentives (forgiveness, blessings, afterlife, comfort etc).
  • Most have high street outlets. The Church of England has 16,000 branches in the UK.
  • They employ sales and marketing professionals to sell their brands (we call them priests).
  • They issue product manuals (bible, koran etc).
  • They provide aftersales support (worship, confessionals...).
  • They use recruitment campaigns (christmas, festivals, brainwashing in schools...).
  • Their officials have uniforms.
  • Their founders are worshipped.

But there are also a number of differences between religions and businesses:

  • Their license to trade is often protected by laws such as blasphemy.
  • They are permitted to brainwash children (no broadcast watershed for religious messages). They are even allowed to take control of children's entire education through branded faith schools.
  • There is no equivalent to Trade Descriptions or checks on claims they make. They can claim anything to be the Truth without needing to provide evidence or any form of safety checks.
  • They are allowed to mutilate people (especially children) and animals with impunity.
  • In some societies, religions are allowed to murder customers who leave their brands (apostasy).
  • They can, with impunity, threaten customers who consider leaving (eternal damnation etc) or who consider buying other brands (eg. 5 of the 10 Commandments are about making sure customers stay loyal).
  • They can use loudspeakers from their shops to sell their brands.
  • They can force customers to eat (or not eat) certain foods.
  • They are allowed to bury dead people next to their shops.
  • They are not taxed.

So, in the interests of fairness, I propose that businesses should be permitted the same rights afforded to religions. For example:

  • Coca Cola can demonstrate their war against obesity by providing Coke Schools for children where all food is nutritionally controlled.
  • All marketing is permitted without annoying Trading Standards regulations.
  • Claims for all products can be made without the need for laboratory or safety testing.
  • There are no age restrictions for recruitment and parental approval is not required in schools.
  • The state will recognise being married by your favourite brands. M&S and Waitrose weddings?
  • All iPhones and iPads will be programmed to celebrate Steve Jobs birthday... assuming their batteries last that long :-(
  • Disloyal customers can be threatened by eternal damnation or even death in some markets where they like that sort of thing.
  • Fundamentalism will be acceptable (Apple advocates?).
  • All businesses should be taxed as charities and will not have to charge or pay VAT.


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