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  1. #1

    Default Business Owners, Leaders and Entrepreneurs are not all Evil

    That's my opinion.

    I in-fact, aspire to be one.

    I have met many of them. Some are greedy, most are not.

    I've e-mailed (bordering of flame-mailed) the CEO of my own company (which happens to be a Fotune 500) and not only was I not fired, but he actually listened and made changes to the company based on my (and, I am sure, many others') input.

    The world of business is competetive to be sure. There are a lot of things wrong with it, and there is stagnation, unfairness, corporate-ladder "climbing," and so on. But it is not a world seeped in corruption. Everyone in the corporation is not out to get you. "Back-stabbing" is actually a rare occurance.

    The world of financing is not wraped in greed. In fact, the driving thrust is to "make meaning."

    Exhibit A: Guy Kawasaki, a well known VC.

    Exhibit B: Vinod Khosla, a prolific VC working for THE VC firm KPCB.

    Although, a lot of speculation and gambling happens in the Market, its main function is to provide very quick arbitrage for what is being traded on the markets. It provides liquidity.

    Imagine this ancient situation:
    In City A, there is a market where spice is very cheap when compared to meat, while in City B, there is a market where spice is expensive when compared to meat.

    A trader, decides to take on great personal and financial risk (call it speculating or gambling if you want) to try to make a profit from taking a trade caravan between City A and City B. He plans to trade spice he gets from City A for meat in City B, and bring it back to City B. He of course has to take care not to provide spoiled goods, lest his reputation (his brand) be ruined. Since he is a good and trust-worthy person, this habbit is ingrained him anyway (without needing to worry about "brand"). He has to fend of theives who have the same idea as him, but want to try to rob him instead of doing legitimate trading. He also has to face the elements, and manage the people in his cravan. Again, (without really thinking about "management"), he gives fair compensation to his workers because it is the right thing to do. Of-ourse, he has to get rid of the people who aren't putting in their fair-sare for the good of all the others in caravan.

    The modern situation is not too different. Things just happen at a much faster rate. Instead of caravans, we have trading houses, investment banks, individual investors, and various other such firms.

    Like in the old days, this breed needs to be quite tough. There are also corrupt people among their ranks. However, the most successful are the ones with altruistic aims.

    If a=b, b=a. If what is best for the individual is best for all, what is best for all is good for the individual.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  2. #2
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    I aspire to be a business owner one day myself, though it would be in the entertainment field. In my anecdotal experience, there are a lot of assholes in the business world, but relatively few evil people (probably equivalent to evil house painters, evil convenience store workers, etc.). I think that part of the asshole equation is that many people who start their own businesses do so not only to make their fortunes, but because they couldn't stand working for other people they hated. So when they start their businesses, they don't want to listen to ANYONE about how things could be done. At least, that's how they were to me when I worked for sole proprietors of small businesses.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    I disagree that the most successful business owners have altruistic aims, but I suppose that depends on how you define altruism (I don't believe it exists).

    Also, business owners, as a group, give sufficient compensation to employees to secure their loyalty and honesty, not because it's the right thing to do (though some may believe it's the right thing to do). It's in the business owners best interest to have loyal and honest employees.

    I agree with your overall statement, though. It's a gross mischaracterization to call all entrepreneurs evil.

  4. #4
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    Even if there are an abundance of Evil people in such positions, I like to take solace in what Smith says about constituents: That it doesn't matter so much about the individual, because people in positions of power are forced to appease their constituents and "share the wealth/power" by proxy alone. The King, the Landlord and the CEO must look after the well being of those underneath them, or else. By virtue of the position of CEO, a person is forced to adopt good, benevolent qualities or they get mercilessly replaced.

    What is lacking from the modern business world, however, is accountability in record keeping. This needs to change at the highest levels of government but congress doesn't think Enron and Tyco are enough of a precident for Big Business change.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    What is lacking from the modern business world, however, is accountability in record keeping. This needs to change at the highest levels of government but congress doesn't think Enron and Tyco are enough of a precident for Big Business change.
    As usual, government is directly involved with a problem that people blame on the 'market' or 'greed'.

  6. #6
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    What is lacking from the modern business world, however, is accountability in record keeping. This needs to change at the highest levels of government but congress doesn't think Enron and Tyco are enough of a precident for Big Business change.
    I am big on corporate transparency, and I'm not against the government piercing the corporate veil to make sure it happens in some cases. Also, I have the utmost respect for accountants (the honest ones, anyway). They perform an absolutely vital task in modern society.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #7
    Oberon
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    Heh.

    I once had a co-worker tell me, in all seriousness, that he didn't believe that stocks should pay dividends; it was unethical.

    I was agog at his fundamental failure to understand basic economics.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Heh.

    I once had a co-worker tell me, in all seriousness, that he didn't believe that stocks should pay dividends; it was unethical.

    I was agog at his fundamental failure to understand basic economics.
    Obie, it's endemic in this day and age. I took on a Business minor with my Film and Media Arts major because I thought it would be important going into the working world. Look at the trade policy rhetoric in the election. They are spouting nonsense to an electorate that is generally ignorant of economics and resentful of economist and businesspeople.

    As to dividends, put that money back into shares! I'm saving up to move into an index fund once the market calms down a bit (and when I have the spare $$$; 2009, probably).
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #9
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I obviously wouldn't say that business people are evil. I usually refrain from using that word in the first place. They are just people, though, and I do priniciply believe that power corrupts. As such, the wealthier a business is, and the larger share of the earnings that goes the executivse, the more distrustful I am of those managing a business.

    We can see in political rulers that the effect of controlling a country is extremely mind warping. Now, you might say that a CEO doesn't have the power of a Soveity Premier, but they do work their way into positions that are prefectly sufficient for building a bubble around them.

    But let us say that we have a some perfectly good people who live in the top 1% income bracket. My personal philosophy is that, certain proportions of wealth do not belong to anyone. That there would be no person so virtuous as to reasonably earn, deserve, and utilize such enormous shares of an entires nation's income. For me, it's not reallly a question of weather or not the person who runs a business is good or evil. The question is whether or not it makes good sense, ethically or practically, to allow individual people to earn that much money and have the much influence on the market.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Although, a lot of speculation and gambling happens in the Market, its main function is to provide very quick arbitrage for what is being traded on the markets. It provides liquidity.

    Imagine this ancient situation:
    In City A, there is a market where spice is very cheap when compared to meat, while in City B, there is a market where spice is expensive when compared to meat.

    A trader, decides to take on great personal and financial risk (call it speculating or gambling if you want) to try to make a profit from taking a trade caravan between City A and City B. He plans to trade spice he gets from City A for meat in City B, and bring it back to City B. He of course has to take care not to provide spoiled goods, lest his reputation (his brand) be ruined. Since he is a good and trust-worthy person, this habbit is ingrained him anyway (without needing to worry about "brand"). He has to fend of theives who have the same idea as him, but want to try to rob him instead of doing legitimate trading. He also has to face the elements, and manage the people in his cravan. Again, (without really thinking about "management"), he gives fair compensation to his workers because it is the right thing to do. Of-ourse, he has to get rid of the people who aren't putting in their fair-sare for the good of all the others in caravan.

    The modern situation is not too different. Things just happen at a much faster rate. Instead of caravans, we have trading houses, investment banks, individual investors, and various other such firms.
    Would it be fair to say that the enormous increase in the speed of operations is worrying? You have to consider these combined factors, where we have the high speed transfer of large amounts of capital, which is further influenced by masses of individual prospectors who are highly susceptible to speculation. It sort of seems like Chicken Little could destroy the economy in a day. It certainly wouldn't be a lie to say that speculation has crashed this country's market more than once.

    You can call me unfaithful or cynical, but I never expect the trader to do something simply because it is "the right thing to do".

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Like in the old days, this breed needs to be quite tough. There are also corrupt people among their ranks. However, the most successful are the ones with altruistic aims.
    Why exactly do you think that is true? I've always been of the impression that a sociopath has a head start over everyone in most endeavors.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    If a=b, b=a. If what is best for the individual is best for all, what is best for all is good for the individual.
    I definitely have to disagree with this. A man who robs someone gains far more from it than he loses, and there is little reason to assume that his gain of that stolen money will invariably lead to the benefit of all.
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  10. #10
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    But let us say that we have a some perfectly good people who live in the top 1% income bracket. My personal philosophy is that, certain proportions of wealth do not belong to anyone. That there would be no person so virtuous as to reasonably earn, deserve, and utilize such enormous shares of an entires nation's income. For me, it's not reallly a question of weather or not the person who runs a business is good or evil. The question is whether or not it makes good sense, ethically or practically, to allow individual people to earn that much money and have the much influence on the market.
    Do you believe that individuals own themselves and their labor? If you do, then there isn't a tenable way to believe that "certain proportions of wealth do not belong to anyone." Either you own it or you do not own it, but merely get to use a government-mandated portion of it. I believe that the money I earn is mine. The money you earn is yours. The money Warren Buffett earns is his. It doesn't matter if he can buy and sell me 1,000,000 times over (for now; I plan on being in that upper 1% of income earners, hopefully upper 0.1%). He is entitled to the fruits of his labors, just as a custodian or teacher or lawyer is.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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