Profit becoming a dirty word

Profit becoming a dirty word.  A business friend snidely complained that “profit” is becoming a dirty word. Brought up to believe that increasing profit is a company’s only business, he found criticism of corporate profits threatening to his sense of values. “Why,” he was asking, “is profit being maligned?” The answer is changing cultural values. The Milton Freeman Economics of the Reagan era made shareholders into economic gods. Most shares, however, are held by the very wealthy. Mistakenly, the wealthy have of late been expressing their disdain for employees as “Romney’s 47% moochers.” More and more people want a greater sense of purpose. They find the excuse corporations use of a fiduciary responsibility as a cover up for greed. When the wealthy label the socially conscious as “do-gooders,” people recognize mushy demonizing rhetoric as repulsive to good citizenship. Before Reagan, business followed the Henry Ford declaration that, “instead of boosting dividends, he’d rather build better cars and pay better wages.” CEOs pressured since 1970s into maximizing shareholder value are yielding to those who find that social missions attract and retain talent and serve as an important selling point with consumers. It is human nature to want to be the better than others, but a lean, mean profit machine is not inherent to Capitalism. Profitable is giving way to meaningful, which perhaps describes one of the ways we are striving to overcome our baser animal nature. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.

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