Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Many of you will be familiar with Steve Holmes's writing on many topics of interest to us all. Among other things, to my understanding, he has a pretty low opinion of business in general as it is conducted by many companies in capitalist economies.

It certainly seems to be the case that, from a certain perspective, many businesses are selfish, rapacious, manipulative, exploitative and ruthless. In short, they're amoral at best and immoral at worst. Sadly, the experience of many socialist economies indicates that organizations in non-capitalist economies are no better, and often worse.

Given the size and complexity of modern societies, and the fact that they're mostly run by human beings, is there any real hope for a Politics and Economics of The Common Good?


Professional Thinking and Writing

Solveigh Calderin

solveighcalderin-332372

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Because businesses, governments and state systems are done by people, they show the person, who is executing them. What I mean, it is not the system, which is bad or good, but the people, who are involved in leading posititions within the system, what makes it good or bad. It is only possible that people without any character are involved in leading positions all over the world, because each big system is done un-personal. If a single person would waste money like the governments and big industries and Trusts, they would be in prison. The leader of such un-personal entities are "out of law", therefore there isn't any possiblility to reach them and therefore they can rule the world without fear. If little people (I mean here the grandness or not grandness of the character) rule the world, without fearing to be called to account for their doing, we have the world as it is just now. Where you know the person, with whom you are making the business, you would not do any business, if the betray like the big industries... Here you have the direct opportunity to make a decision on behalf of the person... Would you buy anything with a person, whom you do not trust, or who is unfriendly? Solveigh Calderin Hereke Carpets - Tradition, Beauty, Luxury and Elegance Follow me on Twitter Find my personal profile and business site on Facebook Superfan

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Roger Croft

rogercroft-61416

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

"Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight." Keynes 1930 are we in daylight yet? www.prdpartnership.com - Commercialising your ideas

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Indeed Nic, as demonstrated by the "super injunction" which allows corrupt business in any country to apply UK law to conceal their practices.

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Nic Oliver

nicoliver

Business is subject to the same moral code as the rest of us

I don't think you can generalise about small vs large - there are small businesses where a skilled person sells their skills to others in an ethical way; there are others that are corrupt and out to get what they can and don't care how. There are large organisations that are corrupt and others that act in ethical ways. What bugs me are businesses of all sizes that hide behind what is legal rather than what is right. Nic

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Business is a reflection of us. Big Business is still a reflection of us, only through a distorted mirror. Business is neither immoral, amoral or anything, it's simply the vehicle man created. The fact that business is systemically flawed is a reflection of our potentially limited thinking. The systemic flaws in business can be addressed, just as they can in us as individuals. There are ethical ways in which organizations can be run, just as we can evolve as people. Business is what we will do until we learn to fully trust ourselves and each other. Once we've learned this there will no need to sell, to buy, to differentiate, kill or exclude. It's just as well nature is not in the global "business" of buying and selling. Can you imagine having to do a deal with the Tree to pick an Apple or take out HP to drink from the Stream or worse, enter into a user agreement with the Hen before you could take her Eggs ;-) For now though, let's play the game with all humility and enjoy the learning process. Martin

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RealSteveHolmes Fading away soon

cvsage-38854

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Unfinished Rothko No 1 (Tintagel Sunset) There is a universe of difference between a small business where a skilled person sells their skills to others and a huge, malevolent, crushing "corporate" culture run by people who act like royalty and play fast and loose with the world that belongs to all of us. The former I celebrate and up to a point the kind of larger "family" business that they have in Germany is fine. But anyone who prospers as a lackey of the evil corporate system is guilty by association in my book and the leaders of large organisations are mostly monsters for whom no punishment would be too awful... They are parasites, who take so much more than their share that it's impossible to scale with common human decency. The internet has destroyed my career as a sage. Everyone's a guru today. I wrote this website by the way. Does yours read anywhere near so well? WHAT I DO IS HERE ······· MY INTERESTING IDEAS ARE HERE

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

I just had another reminder of the connection between business politics and ethics when the latest on the spat between Google and China just flashed up on my radar. Just a week ago, it didn't seem to register here as a topic of interest.

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Business should be about people, that's a point we've been trying to get across: "At first glance, it might seem redundant to emphasize people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn't the purpose of economics, as well as business, people? Aren't people automatically the central focus of business and economic activities? Yes and no." Business cannot do other than be affected by politics Trade agreements and embargos for instance. In an interesting blog I read the other day, the point is made that there is no such thing as Fair Trade, since import regulations block the market for finished product. Hence you may be chocolate from those appying "fair trade" in their procurement of materials but you can't buy a jar of coffee from Kenya or a bar of chocolate from Ghana.

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Chris Piggott

chrispiggott1-244120

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Business is People, and People make Business...... Business is neither amoral or immoral - it is simply a vehicle for people to exist. Its how the people in business act that determines the morality of that action. Why SHOULD business be linked with Politics? I realise that it is - which gives the greed of the politicians there ability to indulge their gluttony. The politicians conveniently forget they are supposed to be the upholders of decency and morality when they get the money. Thus socialist economies are led by precisely the same politicians resulting in the same problems. Chris Piggott Merivium Associates 07778 353203

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Paul Millar

paulmillar-518048

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

I agree with Nighet and Norman. You can't senisibly generalise in such a sweeping way. An unusually negative question from you? I'd stop reading SH's posts for a while! :o)

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Richard White

rljwhite-20646

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Business is neither good or bad - its an activity and not a thing Its the people conducting the business that make the decisions that have good or bad effects depending on ones view point The issue with big business or politics that affects how the organisation behaves is normally to do with the people at the top. Each and everyone can be moral, amoral, or something else. I heard a nice saying once - If you take a vat of blackpaint and introduce a little white and you will hardly even notice it. Drop a little black pain into a vat of white paint and you will immediately change the colour noticably Best wishes Richard Get totally free online sales training at www.TheAccidentalSalesman.com Follow me on Twitter for regular sales tips

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

This morning I continued a conversation I began yesterday with the organisers of a newish site, designed to promote businesses whose practices have been closely examined through a lengthy interactive process. http://www.seewhatyouarebuyinginto.com/

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Norman Feiner

normanfeiner-185352

In my limited experience, most act morally and ethically.

In every sphere of human life - be it social, business or familial & in every specific area of commercial activity there are those who act morally and amorally… In my limited experience, most act morally and ethically. However, given circumstances that may support unfair advantage or a possibility - certainly if difficult to detect - to unscrupulously achieve goals many succumb to baser instincts and sadly lose their moral compass. Continued success & increased wealth is indubitably a monitor indicating personal and corporate character. _____________________________________

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Nighet Nasim Riaz

nnriaz-374792

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

It depends entirely on the business. The smaller the business and more organic the business model the closer the founder/owner remains to the needs and wants of the staff and customers, e.g. family bakers on the High Street in small towns and villages. Obviously profit is a motive but so is being part of the community infrastructure. This is slowly lost as companies grow bigger, more people are employed and it all becomes about meeting quotas and the customers and staff are seen merely as commodities to be used to meet the companies aims and objectives. N N Riaz nnriaz@googlemail.com

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Is business immoral, amoral or something else?

Yes Stu, coming in under radar. The ethics of business and the competing economic ideologies of the 20th Century were the subject of our presentation this year at the Economics for Ecology conference in Sumy. Along the way, in the process of attempting different forms of economics from capitalism to communism, we have managed to pollute and contaminate our own environment to the extent of causing environmental change to the point of quite possible catastrophe for people around the world. Neither the capitalist system nor the communist system - nor the various fascist systems attempted in such as Germany, Spain and Italy - lived up to their promises. Communist and fascist systems became infamous for mass murder. The Western capitalist was less murderous. Overall, capitalism was able to produce a much larger middle class of people between rich and poor, and has gained precedence due to making safe and secure life possible for more people. But, it's various methods over the past 100 years left millions of people to suffer and die more indirectly than outright murder. Those people were dismissed as relatively unimportant, mostly left to die from deprivation rather than outright execution. In all systems, some rationale was created to either dismiss people and leave them to die, or, kill people outright. In the end, for the victims, the result was identical. In that context of disposing of people, by all economic systems, and with capitalism having become predominant, financial profit came to rule the day. Profit, the bottom line, was master of all else. People and the environment we live in were secondary considerations. The vehicle of Western capitalism was, and is, corporations. 'Corporations are legal structures created as legal entities to carry out the business - financial - objectives. Under US law, corporations are a legal person. What sort of person? According the psychological assessment measures in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) used for personality assessment, corporations meet the strict clinical definition of a psychopath. "Psychopath" is another word for lunatic, or, someone who is legally, criminally insane.' http://www.p-ced.com/1/projects/ukraine/sumy/

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