If We Expect Businesses to be Villains they will be

good-corporate-citizenI’ve gotten emotional and interesting reactions to the blog post I made yesterday, Jun 15, 2016, about Mars Candy and that reaction is quite fascinating. I’m going to talk about what I think it means today.

First off let’s look at all the places from which I got reactions.

I made a comment on the original story, posted the blog here, reposted at Liberty.me, and linked to it on Facebook and Twitter.

Across the board people have reacted in one way. They don’t believe Mars acted in the interests of their customers. People find it impossible to imagine that a modern business would do something that benefited its customers, particularly if that action seems to cut into profits. I’ve been laughed at. I’ve been given all sorts of explanations about how Mars was actually engaged in better business practices that had nothing to do with the customers. I’ve been called stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whining. People can laugh at me and call me stupid all they want. I’m comfortable being me.

What I am doing is sitting in astonishment that the public’s opinion of a business has changed so dramatically in my lifetime. I think businesses are still quite often excellent corporate citizens but the expectation that they will be so has changed, and that’s not good. If the executives of a business are expected to be selfish and self-serving with no interest toward their community or customer, it is only a matter of time until they become so. Why be a good corporate citizen when you get no credit for doing it and there is no expectation you will do it?

One thing that I think is completely lost in the modern world is that a business cannot be good or evil. It is the executives and employees of that business who make policy decisions. Those are the people who are good and evil and they are us. If Victoria Mars runs a candy company it doesn’t mean it is impossible for her to be worried about the well-being of her customers. Cutting down the size of candy bars for the health of customers doesn’t have to result in more sales immediately. If the customer lives longer it can be both a good corporate decision and a good health decision for their customers.

I’m of the opinion that too many decisions are made looking only at the short-term benefits and not the longer lasting effects. Decisions made that benefit the employee, customer, and business are often the same thing. What is good for the corporation is generally also good for the customer. Decisions that harm the customer can be beneficial in the short-term but often have negative effects down the road.

It concerns me tremendously that there is such a negative opinion about business in this world. I even got negative comments at my Libertarian website!

Businesses and capitalism provide me with almost everything in my life. I’m happy to pay money for particular goods and services. I think there was a time when almost all businesses felt they wanted to provide those things for me and make sure I was happy. I think that’s changing and at least partially because our expectations of a business have been warped to assume they are simply out to maximize their profit. When we expect business leaders to go for as much profit as possible and take advantage of the customer, they will eventually do so. That’s a recipe for disaster in the long run.

Remember, a company is run by people.

Greed is not good. What is good is making a profit, employing people, helping the community, and providing a desired product or service. When you purchase something you should be looking for companies that behave in such a manner.

When we expect the worst from someone, we often get it.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

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