Philosophies for Business
Philosophies for Business Introduction
Geoffrey Klempner
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"The rich canvas of human life encompasses many possibilities. Each of us plays a multitude of roles. What philosophers writing in business ethics have failed to grasp is that In some of these roles — and this list is very specific, very constrained — something strange happens. Ethics appears to be suspended. We are no longer required to consider the interests of others in the way we are required to do outside those roles...

"It is possible that there is a planet somewhere whose inhabitants have never competed in athletics, or a game, or a martial art. It seems to me far less likely that in our future interstellar travels we shall ever find a planet where trade or quid pro quo had not been invented.

"The very first act of deliberate trade created the frame within which business activity takes place.

"It would be possible — and this was the young Marx's vision of a communist society where everyone lives by the rule of brotherly and sisterly love, just as Christ preached — to abolish business, trade and money altogether. Just because an activity is natural, inevitable does not mean that human cultural creativity and ingenuity cannot find a way to eliminate it.

"Should we wish to? To me, that's a meaningless question. Because (contrary to what the older Marx of Capital thought and generations of Socialist governments have taken on trust) we have not the slightest clue how that end state would be achieved. We have no conception of the price that would have to be paid in permanently altering human culture and behaviour in order to reach that idyllic end state."

From The Business Arena (2004)

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