Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Golden Rule

Do the owners of a company have a right to maximize their profits? Sure, owners usually have the most to lose when a company fails because they are paying the bills. Do customers of a business have the right to negotiate the best deal and receive rock bottom prices? Of course, customers are paying for the good or service and they can usually take their business elsewhere. Do employees of a business have the right to expect top dollar for their labor? That’s a crazy question, employees provide the sweat to get the work done; of course they should get top dollar. Now, what’s wrong with this picture?

Everything is wrong with this picture. Owners can’t maximize profit when they are paying top dollar and selling for the lowest price. Customers can’t receive the best price when the owner is paying the employees top dollar while trying to maximize profits. Employees can’t get paid top dollar when the owner is maximizing profits while selling for the lowest price. Practically everyone has forgotten the golden rule when it comes to business. Owners get the most blame for being greedy when they do eek out a profit, but employees are just as likely as owners to be greedy when negotiating a salary and customers are just as likely as owners to be greedy when negotiating a price or choosing a vendor.

The only moral way to conduct business is for owners, customers, and employees to all follow the golden rule. Sadly, there is not much business being conducted in a moral way these days because everyone is looking out for number one and very few of us are “walking in the footsteps” of our business partners. In later posts I will be arguing for the morality of what many Christians consider immoral, but for now I want to establish the premise that the bottom line is never the bottom line. Greed is a sinful emotion that needs to be controlled regardless of whether we are an owner, an employee, or a customer. Our business transactions need to be conducted according to what is fair, not what is best, if we want to be holy.

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