What’s the purpose of business?

“A true business opportunity is the one that an entrepreneur invents to grow him or herself. Not to work in, but to work on.” Michael E. Gerber

Just to be clear, I’m not referring to the business type of the ancients but those hewn and built upon in the furnace of the Industrial Revolution.

My point: in the light of everything we know about climate change and extreme loss of biodiversity, have they outlived their usefulness? If so, what comes next?

I accept that it’s our individual choices as consumers that have been and are responsible for this unholy mess, but it’s companies and, in the early days, industrialists and financiers who sowed the seed of this modern-day catastrophe. 

The trouble is (if it’s not already obvious) all our lives are now tied to companies (and occupations) that for all the rhetoric are not interested in pulling the plug on their destructive ways — why would they? 

And in that space, we’re all complicit.

What if, instead, we petitioned the directors and shareholders to forthwith stop polluting the world or producing products that were not restorative of the planet? Sure, they’d ignore us — or worse still — but if we then refused to work for them, they’d be out of business in no time at all. 

But that’s never going to happen, is it? 

Then again, why do we work? To survive? Well, I’m no historian, but we seemed to manage OK absent the paraphernalia we’re now subsumed by. 

I accept this post is hugely simplistic and avoids a plethora of issues but then again, its my fundamental belief that if we want to survive as a species we need to stop tinkering at the margins and, inter alia, take a long hard look at the purpose of business and those who control them. Sure, we can vote with our feet — i.e. stop buying plastic — but I’m doubtful that it will be enough or come soon enough to prevent our eventual demise.

PS. I know this isn’t perhaps the sort of thing you want to be reading over the Sunday papers — if you still read them — and your morning coffee/tea, but I’d love to hear from you either in the comments section or by email. Better still, perhaps it’s time to start a group on Facebook or the like and see where this topic takes us.

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

pacitto