Business ethics pertains to the need to ensure clear business national and international standards and codes of conduct in the society and world of commerce. Successful business needs trust between buyer and seller whereas morally wrong bribery and corruption derail the economy, discourage economic development, distort fair decision-making, destroy social cohesion and damage political stability. Corruption is also dishonouring to God and antithesis of showing love to our neighbour. Individuals may feel helpless victims of a system based on corrupt practices where the rich and powerful abuse or exploit power to satisfy greed by taking advantage of the poor and weak. In contemporary materialistic culture people may easier become complacent about or even seduced by the culture of corruption around them. The Bible however makes clear that the corruption is entirely wrong and calls people to take stand against it. The Christian ethic combines the values of honest business, hard work and the development of nature. It is based on Christ's teaching in the gospels that we should multiply our talents, behave ethically, and not be extravagant in lifestyle. It can be shown that in case of protestant countries, this ethical living led to the accumulation of capital which paid for the trading ships and laid the basis for trade expansion and technical development for economical prosperity.
Europe in the late middle ages was in general a corrupt society where thinking of many leaders was marked by machiavellianism. One significant force which triggered change was the publication of the Bible in the common language of the people. Because people read the Bible, which teaches the need for truth and honesty, their merchants were trusted and the trust between the merchants and their bankers brought the savings needed to finance the ever-rapidly-rising volume of trade. Europe's post-Reformation Calvinist churches gave a good model for public life and created a counter culture from which emerged the early protestant Christian ethics of innovation, hard work and mutual trust. This new ethics was firmly based on Christ's parable of the talents and resulted in financial independence for the protestant churches from the culture of corruption around them and contributed to a vigorous trade within and between the protestant countries of Switzerland, The Netherlands, Scotland, England, New England, and Prussia.