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V Raj
  • V Raj
  • New Delhi , Delhi
  • India

Project Co-ordinator / Manager, UNICET - IEE

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Can we actually do business ethically and still make money?

The idea behind any business is to make money.. now with the objective of making sure that all stake holders are happy.. is it viable rather possible to do business without compromising - without breaking rather mending the rules of the game - without cutting corners?

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    Sep 24 2012: It is possible do do business ethically and still make money. Goods and services will always be in demand, and if money is the meduim of exhange it is expected that the supplier would make money.
    There is nothing wrong in having a financially successful business. In fact a business is meant to make profit

    Making profit or making money becomes undesirable and ugly when it is the first thing that is obsessively pursued. Making money becomes unfair when it is pursued ahead of fair treatment of the human being. As far as human relationships are concerned nothing should be ahead of goodwill, mutual respect and selflessness.
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    Sep 25 2012: A business absolutely CAN be run with ethics as the primary driver... I know because I did it. With that said you have to accept a lower profit margin to do it; and this is the crux of the problem you are addressing... Many if not most big businesses are owned or beholden to Wall Street for their financing and Wall Street as a whole demands max profits nowadays... It USED to be that a business producing 3 to 5% annual growth was doing "well" in the eyes of Wall Street. Now they tend to target 8 to 15%.... Unrealistic, and it results in all sorts of fubar cost-cutting methodologies which result in short-sighted moves like off-shoring jobs...
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    Sep 25 2012: It's hard to say yes, because of the way the culture of the corporate world is now. Ideally a business' primary goal is not to make money but to do a service to the world. Making money and being sustainable should be a secondary goal, I don't like businesses that ignores its own detriments to the world.

    For example, there is a law firm that hoardes a bunch of patents out there only to patent troll whatever new company or startup tries to do. This is a really stupid business.
  • Sep 25 2012: No

    Nothing costs money. Absolutely nothing.
    Everything costs people. Their desire, willingness, knowledge, education, skills and know-how, time, determination, heart, love, caring, training, joy and everything else humans bring to whatever they do.

    Nothing costs money. We need to get rid of money. It creates greed, crime, inequality, poverty, slavery, war and death. Those are at least seven needs of all monetary systems and apparently they are seven needs of most people, because they continue to think and believe we need money.

    It's not sad. It's sick, severe mental illness that borders on and even spills over into, insanity.
    And we keep repeating it again and again, because we believe lies such as:
    "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"

    NO! One, or many, cannot repeat what they can not remember.
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    V Raj

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    Sep 25 2012: What I am trying to raise here is that in the course of studying and analyzing a few corporations across geographies, what I am seeing is that best of the organizations - organizations that are following the Best Practices, follow the transparency process and are yet somehow compromising on the Ethics... And most of them try and cover this act by pumping in a lil more dollors into their Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

    I believe that it is possible do do business ethically and still make money as we would always requires Products and Services to survive and yes a service provider / vendor is in the trade to make money - After all he also has to put food on the table for his family. BUT cutting corners, practicing unethical behavior to make more profits is Making profit or making money becoming paramount ahead of fair treatment to one and all is disturbing!

    I agree that business is a Competitive Endeavor. And it means trying to be better than your competitor. And the question is not about who stays on top but the question is 'Isn't turning a blind eye to the Ill Treatment of employees or inhuman conditions in which Vendors, Suppliers make their staff work.. Isn't that contributing Indirectly into doing Business Unethically..
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      Sep 25 2012: I'm reminded of a civilian co-worker I worked with when I got a "fun" job after I retired from the Air Force. I became a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas at the age of 50. I had a co-worker (fellow dealer)...a sweet young lady about 22 years old...who liked to wear her hair in "Goth" styles when she came to work. She would streak it blood red in color. One night, the management told her she couldn't do that anymore...it wasn't the image the company wanted to present to the customers. During a break in an employee area where both "workers" and management may be, she let out with a tirade about it at the table I and 5 other people were sitting at. She said, "I'm sick and tired of other people controlling my life!"

      I told her to get her *ss up out of the chair and follow me. She was shocked, but she followed me to a private area where I re-arranged her thought process. I told her NOBODY was controlling her life except her. She wasn't drafted to work for the company she was employed at...she volunteered. And it's THEIR company, so they get to make the rules. If you don't like the rules, quit before you get fired. The company isn't controlling her...they are just waiting for HER to make a decision. She's the one in control of her own fate. Does SHE want to follow the rules or not? Based on HER decision, the company will then REACT to her decision. SHE'S the one in control of what is going to happen.

      If you volunteered to work for a company and you don't like their policies...QUIT. It's their company, and they get to make the rules as long as the rules are LEGAL. If you think the company is unethical, go work for a different company. You weren't drafted...you volunteered.
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    Sep 25 2012: If your business is a sole proprietorship...you are the ONLY investor...then you can be as warm and fuzzy towards your customers as you want to be. Share your profits with all your customers if you want to. It's only YOUR profits you are responsible for.

    But if you accept outside financing...investments...from others to keep your business going or to help it grow, then your profit responsibility is not only to you, but to your investors also. You "supply" a product and sell it to consumers. That's the only responsibility to have to the consumer...give them a good product. Once they PAY you for that product, the money is not all yours. It belongs to you AND the investors. The investors get first shot at splitting up the profits with you. That's why they invested in your business in the first place.

    If you disagree, please run out and cancel your 401K retirement plan immediately, because it is invested in profit producing activities (businesses?) that hopefully will give you the MAXIMUM return YOU are hoping it will (unless, of course, you are hoping for only a MINIMUM return on it...are you?).

    Being in business is a competetive endeavour. It can be done ethically, and in many cases it is every day. But competition means trying to be better than your competetor. That means somebody is going to come out on top of the Top 10 List every day. Blindly accusing ALL of these successful companies of being unethical doesn't pass the common sense test.
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      V Raj

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      Sep 25 2012: How about not raising concerns about the Ill Treatment of employees or inhuman conditions in which Vendors, Suppliers make their staff work.. Isn't that contributing Indirectly into doing Business Unethically.. Just a thought.. Most of the companies in the Technology - Garment space doesn't ever come out against the INHUMAN Conditions in which their suppliers make their employees work!
  • Sep 25 2012: it is very possible, businesses tend to work unethically because they can bring up their profit margins.
  • Sep 24 2012: Google
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      V Raj

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      Sep 25 2012: U suggesting that I Google the topic or are U referring to Google as an Organization, doing Business Ethically? Well, don't forget that as of today Google is not just accused and have been proven guilty on multiple occasions of Invading the privacy and following business practices that can simply be termed as UNETHICAL!
  • Sep 24 2012: In local-scale economies it is perfectly possible to do business ethically. In mass market businesses, ethics evaporate.
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    Sep 24 2012: Making money without violating another in impossible. You can have the highest ideals in the world, and you can live up to them, but as soon as money is involved, you enter a whole new world. When money is involved, you become a (witting OR unwitting) co-conspirator in an abomination against your fellow man.

    If you understood how our global economic scheme works, you would know that it is a ponzi scheme run by banksters who control the global war machine, who profit from the poverty of those they willfully keep impoverished, who benefit from those who are left to die from lack of clean water or access to basic medical care or education. Our economy is a scarcity economy, and because of that, it is a fear-based economy.

    If you, who overlook this, are ABLE to overlook this, then how will you hold firm to your ethics when facing ethical questions that will arise. How will you answer the question of what is a fair price to charge for your goods or services? How will you deal with those time when you "feel" like this is immoral and it should be illegal, but it is fully legal? So you will likely say that you must be wrong in your ethical standards. And you will begin to simply not see your part in the horrors that appear on your own doorstep. You will not see your involvement in the destitution that you helped create.

    You will also miss the most rewarding part of life: That of helping your fellow man - but that's another story, and one that you haven't asked about.