The Jewish people all over the world have just marked Shavuot. It occurs to me how highly important it is that along with all the great history and symbolism of the holiday, we recognize that Shavuot is the festival of social responsibility. On the one hand, tradition tells us that the Jewish People received the Ten Commandments as inscribed on two tablets, delivered by Moses, from God at Mount Sinai. These commandments are neatly divided between those relating to our relationship with God, and those relating to our day-to-day interactions with our fellow humans.
Away from the overtly spiritual nature of the festival, social responsibility is also prevalent in how we celebrate the harvest, which, as a nation rooted in the soil of its land, the Jewish people are proud to do. Here, Judaism commands the setting aside of a section of the fields for the poor, and the leaving of forgotten sheaves for the needy. This shows an inherent understanding that we have a responsibility to build ourselves up economically while always considering those less fortunate. We have the responsibility to succeed and to prosper, but always to be sure that our prosperity does not come at the expense of social responsibility and concern. This ancient holiday reinforces the most modern of messages – a society can only prosper if it prospers as a whole.
This is a mantra that I am pleased to see is key to so much technological development and investment today. Certain indices have begun to call the bluff of many companies that have championed their own contribution to social impact or socially responsible investments, while only paying lip-service to real change. However, if we look at technologies being developed today, we increasingly see that democracy and social responsibility is a central theme and modus operandi, even beyond their important philanthropic role.
One such company, which I have had the fortune to watch and assist grow and develop, is CashD, a company that offers workers the ability to withdraw their wages as they are earned, rather than waiting for an arbitrary day of the month. This allows employees and contractors to have better control of their finances and income. It helps stave off dreaded payday loan systems that charge exorbitant interest rates. And ultimately, it is a return to the very basic Biblical value of paying a worker for their labor before the end of each day.
This advanced technological solution – already in use all over the world – is not a philanthropic endeavor but rather it has social responsibility branded into its very DNA. This is the future of commercial social impact.
Technologies like this enable us all to be a modern-day Boaz (the Biblical hero and landowner who showed pity on the impoverished Ruth in the story read on Shavuot). Such technologies empower all businesses of all sizes to function more efficiently, more democratically, and with greater concern for their employer without it impacting their bottom line. Because laced into the fabric of these new technologies is the same insight we glean from the story of Ruth and the lessons of Shavuot: a society cannot prosper in part, it must prosper as a whole. Today, we have technology to help us in this vital task.