“A business must have a conscience as well as a counting house.”
Sir Montague Burton, the tailor
Taking a look at the picture often projected, of a nightmare world run by big business – everything done for a cash profit. The previous chapter highlighted how the state encourages large companies over small but companies and brands and products are a part of our life. And on the face of it, they are not all bad.
A few points are made about companies, large and small.
- Though bigger than many major countries, large corporations don’t stockpile bombs, or even hand-grenades, just in case they need them to settle an argument one day.
- Businesses don’t put us in jail or fine and harass us for not buying their product, however brilliant the advertising, however many millions they spend promoting it, or however much they know we need it.
- Businesses often do respond to consumer needs and demands, changing their product rapidly in response to changing consumer tastes – if they are too entrenched in tradition they risk being trampled by newcomers.
- Companies usually stop short of killing or imprisoning the competition. Even the world dominating IBM Computers could do nothing but watch whilst two young nerds in a California garage changed their world with Apple.
There are quite a few other things companies do that we don’t find in government, such as sticking to their guarantees, refunding you when their product fails or sacking disgraced executives caught stealing from the company or lying to customers.
When we contrast the activities of business with those of the world’s nation states, we see how absurd it is to expect those nation states to be the ones to police and monitor the activities of corporations.