bad biz

Three articles I read today.  All three came my way via Twitter.  The first describes the psychological price of entrepreneurship.  Too often it seems bright ideas are generated by the obsessive – where not the obsessed.  Or, alternatively, by those who simply cannot share their feelings.

Perhaps wanting to maximise financial returns – keep gains to oneself, that is – all too easily leads one to not being able to efficiently open up emotion to the outside world.  Or maybe business brains are sociopaths after all.  Male ones anyway.  (A tweet flitted past me this morning saying something along the lines that more and more women set up businesses these days.  Only they don’t choose to set up businesses which become big.  As if this were a bad thing, I mean.  But who’s to say it is bad?  Especially if the alternative is pathological acts on such a terrible scale.)

The second article I read described the bullying nature of the online retailer Amazon:

“It’s a form of piracy capitalism,” Constantine said. “[Amazon] rushes into people’s countries, it takes the money out, and dumps it in some port of convenience. That’s not a business in any traditional sense. It’s an ugly return to a form of exploitative capitalism that we had a century ago and we decided as a society to move on from.”

Kind of links into the first article, doesn’t it?  Such dysfunctional, rapacious acts are clearly the behaviours of the sad and sorry; not the sad and sorry who fail as entrepreneurs but, rather, those who breathe in the heady and addictive highs of overwhelming success.  The sort of success which allows you to do whatever you want – whatever any government or legislation of the day clamouringly claims it might popularly prefer of you.

And the final article?  That excellent wordsmith Fraser Nelson gets into an intellectual knicker-twist of eye-watering proportions.  Arguing as he does that the real enemy of all our pensioners shivering – and finally dying in unheated homes – isn’t the unsustainable corporate greed which has driven the planet to climate change but, instead, far more the green taxes looking to redress the balance, he refuses to acknowledge that sociopathic business behaviours have anything to do with the financial suffering of British subjects.

Myself?  All I can see is a shimmering trail – where not tale – of interconnected actions.  From the driven entrepreneurs who set up these corporations to the unyielding attitudes their legions of lawyers engender to the lack of community responsibility and empathy they ultimately manifest, it’s patently clear (no pun intended) that might is righter than right.

But just as the above is obviously the case, so it’s also apparent that people are catching on.  Let’s hope enough of them catch on before bad biz completely overtakes the good.

In my case, I’ve learnt a lesson: I no longer buy electronics from the above-mentioned Amazon.  Why?  Recently, I won a victory of sorts.  My keyboarded Kindle 3G of twenty-seven months stopped working.  I contacted the vendor, Tesco, which initially palmed me on to the Big A.  But after an offer of an upgrade from the behemoth, which I refused (the object itself had sentimental value, I didn’t need another tablet and I would’ve had to fork out the difference), I went back to the vendor and made an out-of-warranty claim.

After a month or so of to-and-fro, Tesco has decided to partially compensate me.  No upgrade.  No conditions.  A cheque which doesn’t compensate the sentimental loss, of course – but which does, in a way, recognise my argument.  Stuff should last much longer than it does.  And bad biz really does need to learn how to clean up its act.

For the moment, from now on, my first port of call for future electronics will be Tesco.  An example, even though I had to persist a little, of a biz looking to be less bad than it might.

Meanwhile, global entrepreneurs who look to obsess with bright ideas for financially raping communities in order to empire-build evermore should think twice about the consequences of so much loquacious hubris.

It’s not just us to whom it does no good – in the long-run, it does no good to them either.

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