Business and profitability are not sinful or evil

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Business and profitability are not sinful or evil

How did we end up here that so many people think that making a profit is somehow bad? This puts us in a bind – well either I can be successful in my business or I can be a good person but not both.

Here’s an excerpt from a blog post that captures that sentiment, “For instance, I’ve never once heard a sermon about the tenth commandment, you shall not covet your neighbor’s goods, because in our culture that’s the only game in town. It is called capitalism.”

Wow that is an extremely limiting definition of capitalism.

There are all kinds of capitalists who do tremendous good in this world. There are all kinds of capitalists who have built their success on serving others and helping others become better off.

Capitalism, like any other tool or system, can either be used for good or for bad. So that makes it about individual capitalists and how they practice capitalism. Is the capitalist’s goal to extract or impart, exploit or enrich, take or bless others, practice me me me capitalism or enlightened capitalism?

A lot of this is based on zero sum game thinking – the idea that each participant’s gain is exactly balanced by the losses of the other participants. There is only 1 pizza so the more slices that I have, the less there is for you.

But business done well produces win win not zero sum game. There is more than 1 pizza, a lot more.

You absolutely can be a good person and a wildly successful capitalist. Making a profit can be a beautiful thing that makes this world a better place.

An interesting historical note: In the 1800’s, economics got divorced from ethics and became associated with science. Adam Smith’s 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations, is a fundamental work in classic economics. Before this, Smith wrote A Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Capitalism used to be based on doing the right thing and making others better off. And it still can be that way today. It is your choice


Much Love,

Jonathan
I write these Daily Doses because I know that my content does make a difference and helps people live better lives. So, if you know someone who would benefit from today’s thoughts, please pass this on. Thanks and gratitude in advance! 

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