Business as Mission & Lessons Drawn from 19th Century Hawaii
Part One of this paper addressed the positive and negative role “Business as mission” (BAM) played in 19th century Hawaii; its negative side being its contributory role to the loss of Hawaii’s monarchy (1893) and its independence (1898)—a tragedy contrary to the wishes of all the early actors, both native and foreign, who had embraced “business as mission.” This paper, Part Two, focuses on the lessons that can be drawn from this history. Too often the tale is told simplistically as one where the missionaries, or their descendants, lost their mission and greedily took over the kingdom. This paper concludes, rather, that serious mistakes were made on both sides: native Hawaiian and foreign-descended Hawaiians. It highlights native Hawaiian leaders’ own fateful, if understandable, embrace of “economic development” as the way forward for their nation; followed up by native Hawaiian commoners’ own economic falling behind; the result being a deeply divided society, which then set up a social tinderbox all-too-ready for conflagration should certain incendiary personalities strike the match—which is precisely what happened with Lorrin Thurston, King Kalākaua and Queen Liliuokalani. Hawaii’s history teaches important lessons: the need to understand and value cultural norms and values, the need to identify how economic gains impact the culture, and the need to be willing and able peacekeepers in the process of doing BAM.