Letter for business people
Playing a game usually leads to creating enemies. You cannot play without an adversary. This rule works especially in business (e.g. landowners, traders and money-lenders). There is an old saying: if you want to make people work together, create a collective enemy for them. Unfortunately this motto is very much a reality for us today. Governments and world leaders cause or subconsciously fuel wars for this purpose. It is easy to see that states and nations will truly unite only at the moment when they perceive a common threat. But how is this related to business?
You must have heard the phrase: “Nothing personal, just business." The morality of the modern business world resembles that of the jungle, where only the fittest will survive. Companies are allowed to damage people’s health and even entire ecosystems in the name of reaching bigger profits. If all they care about is profit, what then, are they willing to do to their competitors?
Through business, the human Ego has discovered a cape of invisibility. Under the cape it is possible to make decisions which might be good for the company but the consequences of which will hurt other people and nature. The cape of invisibility hides the real person and operates as a "legal person" which is equipped with somewhat different ethics. And for some reason we accept this type of business ethics as justified.
It has to be said: shareholders, board members, consultants, CEOs and representatives of different stakeholders - you are personally responsible for the actions of your companies. Your company's ethics are your ethics.
All religions teach us the same golden rule: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” According to this law, there are no excuses to hide behind. The legal person is equal to the natural person, who makes decisions and approves of the company’s operations. Furthermore, not only the managers and CEOs are responsible, but all the persons involved in the company, even on the lowest levels of hierarchy - and yes, even the employees, business partners and customers.
A virtuous entrepreneur remembers and recognises his/her own responsibility, and understands that entrepreneurship is just one way of being a human in this world. The same value-systems which guide us as people, guide companies. Virtuous entrepreneurship means considering everything from several viewpoints; from the point of view of nature, people, competitors, social responsibility, as well as the point of view of the whole planet Earth and even the solar systems. A person who runs a virtuous enterprise stands on bedrock, not on sand, because other people and the laws of Cosmos always support these kinds of deeds. Virtuous entrepreneurship attracts more good things - this is simply how gravity works.
Virtuous entrepreneurship is related to the theological virtues - faith, hope and love - on the level of purpose and vision. On the functional levels we come across other virtues such as wisdom, courage, moderation and justice. A virtuous entrepreneur never aims only for the money or for maximising profits, but he/she does what is ethically right. This manner of behaving and choosing will achieve the best results, because then all projects are always planned from a win-win-win perspective.
A legal person can be a good guy, too! A virtuous entrepreneur is like the good parent taking care of his/her child and raising the legal person into a trustworthy adult.
If you have a company, you are bringing up a legal person, too. You are responsible for raising it and teaching the righteous values. There is only one significant difference between a natural and a legal person. The legal person will never be able to take care of themselves. The real persons in charge will have to accept their ethical responsibility: the duty to continue raising the legal person is eternal. Of course the parents of the company might change along the way, but the responsibility always stays with whomever is in charge.