I am a bad capitalist because I don’t understand the concept behind profit.
I mean, I get what profit is – the money you have left over after paying all your bills and maintain your business: Profit!
What continues to boggle me, though, is the constant need to make more. And more. And more and more and more and more. Record breaking profit.
And you can’t fault companies for having this goal, it seems crazy to question it. I mean, how could you NOT want to make more than you did the year before? Even if the year before you made millions, maybe you even made billions. But if you don’t make more your company’s value will drop, and your shareholders will be mad, and then what? Bad press, sales will suffer? You’ll still make money but maybe not as much as you did before. You’ll still be able to pay your bills and pay your employees, but that pure profit will have suffered. Maybe.
And where does that profit go? Who gets that money? Does it just sit there? Does it go to the CEO? Does it go to “the board”… the board seems to have a pretty sweet job, by the way, from what I can tell.
If you’re not growing your business that’s a bad thing. If the excel bar graph doesn’t go up up up and up there is a problem. But what if the line where you started to make money was millions, billions of dollars below the tippy top of your graph? What if the need to grow grow grow and make more and more meant you put tons of pressure on your workers? What if it meant underpaying them? What if it meant creating a subpar product to cut costs? Or to have more product to sell? What if it meant treating the environment like crap? Or treating your customers like crap? Is the bottom line still profit margins?
I guess my question is: When is it enough?
And my statement is: There should be a point where it is enough.
And maybe that’s not very American of me. I’m probably a dirty red commie, because maybe when your business makes more than any 1 person could spend in a life time, maybe it’s enough. Maybe that money should be spread around? Maybe it should be re-invested in people. Or maybe, striving for profit shouldn’t be the number 1 goal. Call me crazy, but if we’re talking business, maybe it should be about creating an amazing product while having a really great work environment. But either way… record breaking profit? At a certain point it stops mattering.