On Dealing with business:

Here in the sates we sure do care a lot about business. From bit to small, mom and pop operation to GM, and every one in between. The relationship between a business and society it operates in is not so much symbiotic as it is just plain illogical, but it endures. Despite countless tragedy, the business cycle continues. To clarify this is a proto-typical business tragedy:

http://naturalsociety.com/monsanto-pays-93-million-to-victims-in-settlement/

Yes that is Monsanto the one that is still in business (and business is booming). That is just one ill of one business. The examples range from the black lung to the gulf oil disaster and thousands in-between. My inquiry will not be how to prevent these horrid outcomes, but rather to see why they happen so often and why we as a society continue to both support and somehow still be shocked by them.

When an individual wishes to start his or her own business the reasons may vary, but the competitive nature business forces the worst, most un-desirable kind of behavior out of people. First I start with what and ideal business would look like. A small start-up that has a process that recycled trash into slightly less trash. Good product and profitable. Now I will take this small successful start up on two laps of the obstacle course called the free market. One lap it will have an honest, hard working, just plain good man at the helm and the other lap a cutthroat who is in it only for themselves will be guiding the ship. I admit it is an oversimplification, but my argument is in aggregate we are seeing the effects, i.e. what happens in my stories, while dramatized happens every day in the world of business, and as a result we are seeing tragedies like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Cochabamba_protests .   So without further ado

Good Leader

Business of making trash into slightly lesser trash is booming, and as a good business owner I split profits between myself, investing in the business, and the employees in a transparent and fair manner. This helps everyone be clear about what is being paid for what. An employee enters the good business office, looking sullen. He goes on to say he is the “less trash” collector, and he’s been feeling really sick as of late when handling the less trash. As a good business owner ( and person) I send him a Dr. to find out what is wrong. Sadly it turns out years of exposure to less trash is dangerous. Being a good person, I pay to treat the employees I have, and starts to handle the “less trash” as a dangerous good. Both add an extreme cost to operating the business. I have to raise my prices, and soon customers find it cheaper to just leave their trash normal sized. I soon finds himself in bankruptcy, poor and costing many good people their jobs.

Ok, not a happy tale but most business would not survive a hit like that, unless…

Bad Leader

Business of making trash into slightly lesser trash is booming, and as a bad business owner I split profits between myself, my buddies, and everyone/everything else in a efficient and personally satisfying manner. This ensures that all employees have no idea if I am paying them less than the others. An employee enters the bad business office, looking sullen. He goes on to say he is the “less trash” collector, and he’s been feeling really sick as of late when handling the less trash. As a bad business owner (and person) you tell him he’s fine, and earned a promotion, to less trash manger… just as long as he keeps this whole “sick thing” to himself. Oddly it turns out years of exposure to less trash is dangerous. Being a bad person, I keep the details out of the public eye, by moving employees to other positions, promotions, ect..     The business booms, I and my crew live lives of extravagance the likes of which I cannot describe, some years later, the truth of the “Less trash” comes out, but by that time I am a very wealthy man, the law has a way of respecting such men, and just like DuPont or Monsanto, or Philip Morris, I sleeps soundly on a very big bed, sounded by the finer things and surrounded by people who tell me I’m grate.

The point is this is happening, every day, in a million different business, the people who do good are being squeezed out, I know examples of “good” people succeeding in business are around, my point is by no means one cannot be good and succeed, simply that bad leaders are more apt to succeed, and after many iterations and permutations of the story I just told we are still seeing the result. Remember the whole point is why we see the tragedies, the disregard for human life, and I believe I outlined that in story form, we see it because that is how business survive and thrive. It is truly a Machiavellian system, and while I know the mechanics of how it works, what eludes me is how it maintains, generation after next, buying into it, working for it, supporting it… The simple truth is our “free market” is so foul and polluted that it is toxic to good business practices in any real sense. But our continued acceptance archaic rules and laws on private property is preventing us from equalizing our income (which social science is in agreement on would probably be good).

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