Monday, 9 July 2007

The Morality of the Profit Motive

The business owner, is often caricatured as the 'devil incarnate'. There is nothing so 'wickedly sinful' as the pursuit of the profit motive. You may get a better character reference, for - 'selling your daughter into slavery'. OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little. But the simple fact of the matter is; that the consumer (general public) is not on best terms with the provider (business owner).

There has always been an uncomfortable relationship between business owners and consumers. The consumer has always felt a little 'needle of contempt' for the business owner (lest we forget and most people do, business owners are consumers too).

Even in Hollywood films, the most crooked character, is often the 'shady entrepreneur' trying to get another sly deal over on the mug client. This mythos of the crooked business owner, has perpetuated the media in print and in pictures, for as long as one can remember. It is not surprising, that many of us are so intolerant, of business owners, we are conditioned to be.

Of course there are crooked business owners, but then again there are crooked consumers too. This is not surprising, simply from the observation that human beings can be crooked and both business owners and consumers are human (despite claims to the contrary).

The fact of the matter is, that dishonest business owners, for the most part, don't survive very long in the market place. The truest bromide ever spoken, when it comes to the business deal, is 'honesty is the best policy'.

The pursuit of the profit motif is a noble pursuit. Indeed, the profit one achieves in business, reflect the values one has earned and past on to the consumer. The hard drive, to achieve success in business, is reflected in the business owners bank balance.

We live in a pop culture, that is obsessed with iconic status. But cut through the pop, and what you find is nothing. It is a culture built up on media-hype and is a hollow sham. We get what we want and it is no surprise that air-headed Hollywood celebrities are held up as heroes, while hard-working business owners, are looked on with suspicion. But, where would these Hollywood stars be, if the film industry, was not driven by the nitty-gritty effort of business men and women at its helm. I have nothing in particular against Hollywood stars, I like a good movie as much as anyone, but, the obsession with celebrity, has become overly obsessive and could almost be called a religion.

It is about time we stopped worshiping celebrity and found some real heroes, worthy of hero status. Business men and women and for that matter, scientists too. Look at almost any great achievement throughout history, more often than not, you will find a business driven individual made it happen. Indeed, without the drive of business, we would still be living in caves.

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