Profit As Prophet

There are those who say that if we only removed the handcuff of regulation from business in America that the economy would magically recover fully and mystically jobs would be created. The flaw in this argument derives from the fact that business exists for profit. Profit motive implies that, in a competitive market, businesses will do whatever is necessary to achieve profit.

Friedmanesque economics tells us that all means of gaining profit are moral. In doing whatever is necessary for profit businesses are all too often tempted by the all too human tendency to cheat to achieve their ends. The temptation to cut corners and deceive their competitors and the public is often too great for businesses to resist.

Left to their own devices businesses have no soul, no conscience. They will sell defective products that damage people to serve their lust for profit. They will sell unneeded and deceitful services to gain the slightest advantage. To allow businesses to police themselves is akin to letting the proverbial fox guard the proverbial hen house.

The proper role of government is to protect and empower the people. Who else if not the government will protect the public from predatory business practices through regulation. Some who hear this argument often say that “You just hate business”. This could not be further from the truth. There are many businesses that follow moral and just business practices. However it is imperative that some entity stand up to those who do not have such scruples. Citizens by themselves are powerless to fend off bad businesses. Only the government is capable of such action.

It is logical to expect those who take our money to give us real value for their goods and services and not to rob or deceive those upon whom they depend for their livelihoods. Until we live in a more perfect world business must be regulated to to protect the public from those that thirst only for profit without morals. I will admit that certain regulations are illogical and in need of reform. But that does not mean that all regulation should disappear out of hand.

If corporations want to be treated as people they should be held to the same moral standards as real people.

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