Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

What Is the Goal of Business?

The primary goal of any business, is to stay in business.

You need to bring in more money than you spend in order to stay in business (though, strictly speaking, you can stay in business by bringing in exactly as much as you spend).

In order to bring in any money at all, you need to sell a product or provide a service that other humans can afford and are willing, even eager, to pay for.

The individuals who start, own, or purchase businesses will have idiosyncratic goals that may or may not include perpetuating said businesses as businesses.

A society is not a business, nor is a government, but the goal of any society, or any particular governmental configuration, is to perpetuate itself as well.

To the extent that businesses rely on internal—sometimes consciously devised—cultural norms in order to teach and encourage the behaviors that will contribute to their perpetuation, they resemble societies (or sub-societies).

The means by way of which a society, or a government, perpetuates itself are not the same means by way of which a business perpetuates itself.

In general, I am glad that businesses do not possess tax authority or control armies, though they do gain access to these means through direct support of government officials and influence over governmental policies.

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Category: Thinking Out Loud

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4 Responses

  1. Is this a comment on the claim made by those such as Romney that running a business qualifies them to run a government?

  2. admin says:

    Yes. For a long time I’ve believed that the Democrats think that government should be run by lawyers and the Republicans believe it should be run by businessmen. I remember telling a friend of mine this and she, being Republicanly inclined, said, “That’s right.”

    To which I could only reply, “But a government is not a business!”

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