Years ago, Joseph Schumacher examined the ethics of unlimited growth and concluded that “Small is beautiful.” The business world, with no shortage of conglomerates and an increasing number of mergers, seems to have missed the message.
One might quip ‘Well, that’s because hedonistic greed governs the business mind,’ but a quick survey of a second year Business class – in which not one student answered the question ‘Why is profit good?’ with ‘Because it gives me pleasure, it makes me happy, I wanna be a rich sonovabitch’ – suggests that either denial starts early or something else is going on. (Or both.)
Most students responded, by the way, with something like ‘Profit is good because it enables you to expand: to hire more people, to establish branches in other cities, to increase production.’ ‘And why is this expansion good?’ ‘Well, because then you can make more profit.’ (Can you say ‘circular’?)
The concept of limitlessness is ingrained in business policy and practice. Why is this so? Continue reading