On June 25, 2015 turns 150 years from the birthday of Andrey Sheptytskyy – the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. He contributed to the oil production and real estate in Europe, was the co-founder of banks, developed cooperatives. His profit made it possible to establish a modern hospital and sanatoriums, a national museum and to implement a lot of social projects. Nowadays, on the basis of Andrey Sheptytskyy study, Zinoviy Svereda, a lecturer of social economics, has founded the Academy of Ethics and Economics, Ukrainian Co-operative Alliance, which strives to improve the prosperity of the Ukrainians.
–In his works Sheptytskyy wrote that Gospel is the key to the economical prosperity. At the beginning of the 20thcentury in Galicia namely priests were the founders and managers of cooperatives, that were the basis for prosperity of the Ukrainians. Nowadays, investment projects of Sheptytskyy are forgotten, and many people think that church and business – are incompatible things.
–Those people who think that church and business are incompatible things, very often have no idea what is Church and what is real business. You may ask this person what Church decrees on social or economical themes has he read. Or what is economics in its origin.
In case someone steals your wallet, it is a crime, but if banks change the interest rate or the purchasing power of money, they consider it to be the changes on the market. In case the largest banks have withdrawn the money of depositors from the state, in other words, they stole them, then the state carries out refinancing, that is, it collects money from the national budget and again give them to the same financial speculators.
And paradoxes in the system of food products? In case you get poisoned during your meal, this is a crime, but if for several years companies offer products of bad quality that affect our health, we call it “business”. For the sake of profit, the companies ignore the laws of nature in agriculture and because of the constant use of chemicals, the fertility of the Ukrainian land is decreasing.
Thus, the market type, where the system of moral values and ethics is demolished, has nothing to do with economics, on the contrary it establishes the system of “game show” and manipulating the peoples. The modern market promotes human flaws and disadvantages, a smart creative personality is not profitable.
–Max Weber in his work “Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism” argued that the way of life that arose from Protestantism played a crucial role in the emergence of modern capitalism. Ukraine has got its own outstanding spiritual leader, who on the basis of Christian study had developed the enormous business activity. What are the advantages of the Sheptytskyy entrepreneurship against other business-models?
–Sheptytskyy put a personality in the center of economics. Not a desire for maximum financial profit, but a unique gift of creativity, that is genetically laid in each personality. Thecomprehensive development of a personalityand society, the realization of abilities and the art of social cooperation were the indicators of real profit for the Metropolitan.
The main difference between the classical approach and the approach of social entrepreneurship is: not investments – business – profit, but wisdom – creativity – prosperity.
The majority of economical crises were carried out artificially, aiming at plunder, in case the society does not understand or control something. Namely the increase of wisdom and solidarity is a real tool against corruption, and for development and prosperity.
I shall give a simple example. In November one village can spend about 100 000 UAH on plastic flowers for cemetery, at Christmas one small village sells fireworks for the sum of 300 000 UAH. Is not this community able to find funds for a sports coach or for books’ purchase? How many people visit library, and how many people visit bars? And things like that… The real reform has its roots in the consciousness of a person, thus our approaches are based on Psychology, Pedagogy, Ethics and Practical Mathematics.
–The social entrepreneurship needs new kinds of consciousness, the value model, but how can we make it? Because many people has a skeptical attitude to Christian Ethics.
–The problems of economics should be found in culture, not in the lack of capital or funds, and the problems of culture should be found in Ethics, the problems of Ethics – in the system of human values.
The principles of Christian Ethics in business were investigated long ago. As a result, another important thing for us is the ability to bring it to people who need both teaching and model. Sheptytskyy was the person who gave both models and doctrines.
–Who are the members of your trainings and what do you teach them?
–From farmers and businessmen to students and scientists. We and the participants are united by joint feeling for the ecology, the nation’s revival and future. The majority of them has got a higher education, but they are not always aware of their vocation and knowledge. We develop new opportunities through dialogue and cooperation: cooking, organic production, service sphere, ethical consumption, ecoturism and so on.
There are a couple of types of trainings: reorganization of communities and local infrastructure, territory update, “social capital”, the principles of social entrepreneurship beginning from the agriculture, industry to the creation of social enterprises of alternative energy, modeling the ethical consumption.
Sheptytskyy said: “Learn to hear what the community wants”. For instance, we held a training for milk industry farmers, who complains they did not have money. We explained, that they did not have money individually, so they should create a community or a cooperative. We studied the consumption of food products in several villages in Rivne region, where bread is delivered to people from 80 kilometers. Have you got flour, water, eggs? Yes, we have. Let’s make bread on the wood, it will be cheaper and more useful, let’s recycle fruit and vegetables according to the principle «yours to you for yours».
Almost all the peasants stop at cultivating the products, so it is worth helping them to recycle it to increase the income. We are teaching how to make contacts between the good producer from a village and the consumer from a city. A peasant needs to learn to make products of good quality, and a consumer – to understand its influence on our health. Owing to the direct manufacturer-consumer contact, one can avoid intermediaries and save 50-60% of the market's traditional price.
In Ukraine, there are farmers who after trainings had united their activity for producing cheese, juice. At present we are finishing the first stage of trainings for the communities from Kyiv region. It is pleasant to know that many people who have authority become the organizers of trainings, their region is not indifferent for them and they desire their communities to become mature and autonomous in everyday life.
–Actually we are talking about the forgotten cooperative movement that helped the Western Ukrainians to overcome poverty in the first half of the 20thcentury.
–In Ukraine the word cooperative is very often associated with a collective farm. The Bolsheviks have spoiled this name, because the cooperative is a community that manages itself, and a collective farm is a state institution that assigns you the leader who manages the community. This system broke the creativity of communities. Thus we try not to use the word cooperative, but we apply the term “social entrepreneurship” or “community entrepreneurship”. It can be like a cooperative, acquire the forms of individual private entrepreneurship, adhering to the rules of ethics, morality, quality and it does not destroy the environment, and part of its profit is used for the common wealth.
–What kinds of stereotypes and problems do you usually overcome?
–First of all, what we need to revive – it is the self-faith. We can do anything we wish. As the Pope John Paul II said: “Do not fear”. It is the most important. Fear of innovations paralyzes us and makes us slaves of different institutions, which take the right to make decisions for us. The Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyy said: “what is said about you, without you, it is against you...” Because your wishes and interests are not taken into account.
The next one. The human nature is that we think more about what we lack, than we appreciate what we have, and therefore we do not see the beauty around us, we can not open the potential of ourselves, of a community, of a territory… I repeat, if you want to see what is poverty, you should go to Sudan or Rwanda, where children die of hunger in the streets. We have the opposite thing: instead of development and self-education, we are engaged in destroying our health with alcohol or wasting our time for senseless talks about politics.
– Who was the inspirer of Andrey Sheptytskyy?Where did he take his ideas?
– Sheptytskyy prayed a lot. He outlined the importance of prayer for creativity and economical activity. His ideas he borrowed for the Pope Leo XIII and many Ukrainian leaders. The Metropolitan liked a lot the articles by Volodymyr Navrotskyy, his principle of “organic labour”.
– You have been studying the worksof AndreySheptytskyyfor almost 20 years. Please make a list of "10 business rulesbyAndrey Sheptytskyy".
– The main principles for economics could be the following:
1. Search for truth, not for profit. The real prosperity is the one received due to your work, that has brought usefulness and happiness to the others. Follow the principle not investments – business – profit, but wisdom – creativity – prosperity. Know the truth: it will free you and bring you a decent profit.
2. Follow the laws of ethics and spirituality, what you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. Do not put money in the first place. Money is a tool, and the goal should be to preserve the gift of life, harmony with others, oneself and God.
3. Do not abuse the trust of others, be conscious of your rights and responsibilities. Develop the things that are beautiful, but do not make money on people’s flaws and weaknesses. Be industrious and creative.
4. Remember to give at least 10 per cent of your profit to the useful projects of a community, to the vulnerable layers. In other words, love your neighbour as yourself. This is the real relax and feast: see happy people around you. Do not use it for self-promotion, but feel the duty to society, which enables you to become wealthy.
5. Do not forget that the primary essenseof the economy is the care of the home(yokos-nimos). Your private property is not just what you have bought, but the world around you, which is the real home whereyou live (the planet, resources, territory). Do not destroy environment for the sake of profit.
6. Your activity should not bring poverty and death to others, do not delay salary, respect the right of others for a decent reward, do not use different speculative schemes, do not make profit on the sick people who can not protect themselves.
7. Do not destroy families, care for the welfare. Care for the sports and the healthy lifestyle. Do not cut down expenses on your employees’ safety.
8. Do not steal future from your children, do not destroy your and someone’s talents, do not promote laws, that destroy justice and peace.
9. Do not spread the information about the products and activity that is of bad quality. Do not use media for manipulating people in the economics. Focus on the quality, in order to be happy to sell and produce what people really demand. Save and do not waste money on excessive luxury: remember that others have contributed to your welfare - so help not only the poor but also the talented.
10. Bringgood news, do good. Know the beauty of the world, and do not destroyit. Your condition is to learn giving, not taking. Therefore do not steal what is not yours, but develop talents and abilities. Only this way you will become a real master on Earth.
– Thus, Sheptytskyy – is the kind of “a brand” we can advertise in the world?
- he lobbied for innovative housekeeping, social and economic laws in the Austrian Parliament and the Galician District Council, in particular the provision of privileges for landless peasantry, the creation of trade unions for workers, protection of forests and Carpathian areas;
- he developed household education, in particular, he founded cooperative colleges and 6 specialized gymnasiums for orphans and talented children; he created a separate social scholarship fund for skillful youth, organized about one hundred experimental village schools in gardening and horticulture in Galicia, Prykarpattya and Volyn;
- at his own expense he supported economical-social magazines, newspapers, periodicals, wrote his own essays, decrees on social and economical topics. There are a couple of collections of his correspondence;
- he founded and developed the people’s bank system in Galicia. The Metropolitan and the UGCC priests founded all the Ukrainian banks of Galicia: “Dnister”, “Land Mortgage Bank”, “Ukrainian Shchadnytsya” and others;
- Sheptytskyy was the honorable president of the Ukrainian cooperative movement. About 80 per cent of all village communities were members of the cooperation;
- the Metropolitan financed and raised credits for the development of the national industry, factories’ and plants’ building in Galicia, in particular, brick plants, confectionery factories, limestone factories;
- he founded “The National Oil Union”, which united the oil resources and peasants ‘ lands for the common exploitation;
- he established sanatoriums and hospitals for poor peasants, and also an assistance fund for unemployed;
- he founded national parks and reserves;
- he entered into trade agreements in The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Germany;
- the investor in construction projects in Germany and Austria, he bought shares and bonds of several companies and cartels in Europe;
- the Austrian Government assigned the Metropolitan the manager of the Commission for Galicia rebuilding after the First World War;
- he founded the community “Zemlya”, which was buying landplots and distributing it among poor peasants;
- he financed the Ukrainian pedagogical community (about 1560 people’s schools), was its honorable president;
- he granted scientific scholarships for studying in Ukraine and abroad. He hadmany innovative projects, including the establishment of a large film studio afterthe Hollywood model;
- owing to his activity, average peasants and workers became the shareholders of factories and plants;
Thus, profits from the activities of factories, plants, banks, the Metropolitan Andrey directed to educational, social programs for youth, the disabled, poor families, the development of the infrastructure of the territory and communities, and helped the poor peasants and workers to feel like full-fledged masters and independent citizens.
These are only few general facts of his activity, we need at least 20 academic hours of lectures to tell only about the social entrepreneurship of Sheptytskyy.
Now we found the cooperatives and social enterprises in cooperation with priests. For us it is very important to demonstrate that one person may be businessman and to follow commandments of God.
Journal “Day”. 2015, num. 154.