Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Charge Against Business

"The charge that business in general is exploitative can only be plausible if the nature of business is radically misconstrued. Coercion is not intrinsic to business, but to government; contrary to Marx, business can only be coercive if it acts against the law, or with the law's connivance. And despite confused ideological claims to the contrary, profits are no more theft than property is; business is not conducted at the expense of its non-owner stakeholders. In the long-term, owner value is unlikely to be maximized by an organisation that lies or cheats or steals, or even by one that is widely believed to do so. Business is by its nature based on contractual exchanges of value, voluntarily entered into; to be successful, business must therefore act in ways that encourage others to deal with it."

Elaine Sternberg, Just Business: Business Ethics in Action

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