Is “Business” Inherently Good or Bad?

I often have thought that business is really just socializing with money. By that I mean that businesses form partnerships in much the same way people form relationships. There’s a courting phase in which both sides decide whether the other is worthy, and subsequently go trough phases of either increasing closeness or separation. So with that being said, I’d like to highlight a major difference between the two.

Living in Korea gives me a new perspective on business and economics. Seeing how things work here and comparing them to other countries I have been to provides a wide perspective on business as a whole. These past two years I learned about running my own small business. It was very similar to building a social network of friends, yet a bit more serious. I noticed, however, that the larger the company was, the less personal it became. This seems to be akin to the way getting famous can isolate you from your friends and or make it hard for people to get close to you. When a company gets larger, the stakes are larger too and therefore every decision has greater importance, requires more thought, and since most people are risk-averse, it makes them more cautious as well. The problem with cautiousness (with friends or business) is that it emphasizes the negative consequences over the positive.
Now, speaking of consequences, recently I read an article about how Petco has a room in the back of their stores where sick or unwanted animals are literally left to die. They are not even euthanized at times because that can get expensive when multiplied by the thousands and thousands of unwanted animals across the country. And so, they are often just left to starve. Now as horrible as this seems, business-wise this makes perfect sense. When it comes I business, you must meet or exceed the demand of your customers and minimize expenses so that you can continue prospering and paying your employees so they can feed their families. This makes letting animals die a perfectly acceptable thing. Yet, morally it seems so wrong. Inherently we know that animals share the same life force that we do and therefore don’t deserve this kind of treatment, much the same as the human race learned how terrible it is to enslave people and or euthanize them through our horrific collective past experience. But to go back to the point, this is business were talking about here. And business has no room in it for certain morals. The only morals that become business practices are those that are reinforced by profits and consumer opinions.

So the question I would like to raise with you today is, is business a good or a bad thing? It is the life blood to our advancing economies and therefore lives. But at the same time, it brings out the most ruthless side of humans and causes us to do things we would never do otherwise. Do you think the Petco store manager would let her family dog starve if she wanted to take a month long vacation to Europe? What would you do?

business good or bad?

4 thoughts on “Is “Business” Inherently Good or Bad?

  1. Oooooooh boy, you have opened a can of worms this time! The answer is both good and bad. Paradoxical as usual. Depending on how the business is operated can reflect the relationships and business that is conducted. For instance, Petco and Costco both have connections to SDSU( just for reference). Jim Sinegal the founder of Costco has a very unique approach to his business that he was taught by his mentor Sol Price who created the entire wholesale industry that would lead to Fedmart, price mart, Walmart, Costco, etc. Sol believed in putting employees first by paying them a living wage and not a minimum wage. Their business model put emphasis on quality products, low prices, and quality employees, shareholders were/are considered after these. Interesting way of business…..also..Social Enterprise is on the rise! We can lead the way for Conscious Capitalism by choosing products that are produced by companies that are more conscious about the environment and others. My humble opinion


    • Thanks for sharing your opinion Justin. I agree that it is paradoxical and to your point about conscious capitalism, it seems that whatever individually decide to see business as, it will become. It’s easy to see the bad because you don’t need a college education to see it. But it’s not as easy to see the good, and even harder to see how it can improve. So good for you in that respect! As always, great communicating with you.

  2. Chad Hi
    Your are right “The only morals that become business practices are those that are reinforced by profits and consumer opinions.” Petco should euthanize or otherwise dispose of its unwanted or sick animals humanely. If there really is a back room where animals are left to starve to death It could perhaps be kept secret for some time. But there is always the risk that some disgruntled employee called the humane society and/or the press. And then what happens- consumer punish Petco by going to the competition. So much for profit. So much for Petco. The risk is too great not to deal with their sick and unwanted animals humanely. Business is also about weighing the risks and the rewards. I would say in this case the risks are too great.

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