Understanding the dynamics of doing business
I had a close friend who at one time in his life was an absolute radical. He would not have minded being called a Communist because he saw himself as a victim of capitalism.
This sense of being a victim, particularly of capitalism, was in vogue during the 1960s and 1970s.
All can be forgiven, when we understand the level of exploitation and the manipulation of capital, to the disadvantage of masses of people.
Added to that, the authoritarian demeanour, along with the lack of any observable social conscience from the wealthy overlords and oligarchs of that era, resulted in rebellion.
The story continues: the friend went into business and began to operate what would be invariably a significant business. A few years later he had experienced all aspects of running a business, including throwing in hours of his own time, often without being compensated.
Notwithstanding, being principled, he always insured his workers received their pay before he did.
The story continues: whether it was the frustration from all the unrewarded work, or the attitude of those working for him, who, rather than drive themselves to ensure his business succeeded, seemed to be jealous or resent the possibility that he may indeed succeed.
It all hit home, when one day on his way to pick up supplies, he stopped to watch a few minutes of a county game through the fence.
When he returned to the job, he was told by a relative that the workers found out he had been seen watching the game and put down their tools, saying they are not busting their hides while he is laying back watching cricket.
His radical ideas shifted as he realised that the real societal problem was bigger than his perceived or presumed enemy of the people.
It becomes a turning point when one begins to realise that the enemy we truly face, we go to sleep and wake up with every day.
What happens when one eats and drinks every day the poison that is truly killing us in the form of cultural attitude?
The enemy that lives outside of you often can easily be defeated; it is the enemy that resides inside one’s own mind that is the real challenge and often the more enduring.
The change my friend made, in and of itself, was radical, to have moved from a virtual communist to a free-market thinker.
This change of mind was also instructive.
When we consider that persons having a real experience as an entrepreneur, or having done business for themselves, come to understand fully the dynamics of doing business, then their sense of appreciation for what it takes to invest in a business is quickened.
It is not just an individualised situation.
Whole societies are affected by their status in the marketplace.
Part of the challenge globally, by populism, is related to the same fact of too many people being locked out of the marketplace.
Some of the problem is caused by growth in technology, which removes the demand for physical bodies to perform labour and concentrates profit in corporate hands.
We invariably reap what we sow. The price of keeping people dumb, no matter how big or small one’s world is, results in being less functional and more chaotic.
The marketplace and work is not just a facility to make money or keep people occupied with jobs; it is an educational and civilising tool, too.
When opportunity is deprived for any reason, it is counter-intuitive to progress and harmony in societies.
Leaders have a role to play in assuring they are part of the solution and not part of the problem.
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Ada Foggo (1928-2020)
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