Profit is often thought to be the sole goal of business. While profit is certainly a necessity of business, it is far from the only rationale. One may think of profit for a business as being akin to food for the body: necessary beyond a shadow of doubt and certainly fundamental, but far from the end-all and be-all of existence.
The naked pursuit of mammon at the cost of aught else leaves hollow souls in its wake. Certainly business is a group of people organized with an economic mission:
– to pay salaries to put food on the table of the families of the workers
– and to give a motivational return to the investors who advanced funds to acquire the required resources.
But that economic mission must be pursued in the context of our overall humanness and our duties and obligations to each other, the social contract. Profit must be earned honestly and in a principled manner.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule remains an excellent guide in business as in all human interactions.
Perhaps the ultimate purpose of business should be the same as any human endeavor: to enhance human life, to enrich the human experience.
“What doeth it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” — Mark 8:36
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” — Mahatma Gandhi
“Even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession.” — Friedrich Nietzsche