The business of business is no longer business

The business of business is no longer business.  It is now something completely different.

Nowadays the business of business is a cocktail of social and socialist agendas funded through higher than necessary prices by businesses protected from competition by government.  It is the most recent incarnation of stamocap, state monopoly capitalism.

If you are a business who wants to engage in business, you need to find a new business to engage in.

A whole new industrial complex has emerged from the new NGO sector seeking to shape, promote and propagate social policy through business and the private sector.  Why bother nationalising business and industry when government and its NGO acolytes can achieve the same political outcomes without the political costs.

Have a look a the work of social NGOs such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the ASX Corporate Governance Council and business schools who no longer seem have any interest in identifying and teaching best business practice.  It is now about best social practice.

Consider this.  The UTS business school last week hosted a discussion titled The Banking Royal Commission: How Should Business Schools Respond.  And at this discussion, Walter Jarvis, the director of the UTS Master of Management course said:

business was about serving society and that meant looking after not just shareholders but all stakeholders

For those who did not hear that properly, let’s just repeat that:

business was about serving society and that meant looking after not just shareholders but all stakeholders

Business used to be about delivering a product or service above the cost of production to customers who were prepared to VOLUNTARILY pay for that product or service, and ideally come back.  Yes, employees, shareholders and broader stakeholders were important, but at the core, at the center, was the customer.  Much like the tax payer, the customer is no longer that important.  Customers, in the mine of the business socialisation industrial complex, are a nice but not necessary ingredient.

Reflect upon your local butcher shop, trying to deal with rising electricity prices, rising rent and rising labour costs trying to sell its products to customers at a price they are prepared to pay.  Sitting of an evening, rather than going through sales and costs figures, said butcher is working on strategies to ensure that he only sources methane neutral meat and that he has an appropriate gender balance on his staff and board – and if he does not have a board, working out how to get a board with at least 30% women.

And thanks to the National Party, the Hayne Royal Commission has turbocharged this process of quasi-nationalisation.  While the Hayne Banking Royal Commission was an important process, it failed to ask the fundamental question and as a consequence the conclusions and recommendations address the wrong issues.  In case there are any politicians or political staffers reading, let’s try to explain this another way.

Consider the following scenario.  You have the people who build stadiums (unrelated to Allianz) and ensure a constant supply of Christians, you have the lions and you have the Christians.

If the lions kill and eat the Christians, who carries most of the blame?  It’s not the Christians.  Perhaps the lions have some blame, but they are behaving as lions behave.  The greatest share of blame belongs to the people who build the stadiums , ensure the constant supply of Christians and subsidise the breeding of lions.

In contemporary Australian financial services, the Stadium builders and Christian suppliers are the Government.  They created giant financial system edifice through things like the RBA, ASIC and APRA.  They then made sure there was a steady supply of Christians through compulsory superannuation and financial services laws.  And when the Christians were killed, they blamed the lions.

But it all makes sense because the academy and the experts agree it is the fault of the lions.  After all, there are no consulting fees and lectures to give if the government, dare it be said, got the hell out of the way.

The new and current business of business is compliance and tax revenue generation.  Customers, well, they are for the textbooks.  Old textbooks for historians to study.

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46 Responses to The business of business is no longer business

  1. stackja

    Customers can make a difference and only support real businesses not the ‘pretend we care about issues’ businesses.

  2. Shy Ted

    I’d pay to see certain folks fed to the lions.

  3. Roger

    Nowadays the business of business is a cocktail of social and socialist agendas funded through higher than necessary prices by businesses protected from competition by government.

    This, along with the reliance of governments and corporations upon unelected and unaccountable “experts”, is creeping Fascism.

  4. Procrustes

    Mostly nailed it.

    But – a minor point – the Christian Lions analogy needs a little more work on two fronts.

    Firstly, the current regulatory/taxation state restricts the source of lions to only those few players who can supply the lions while also satisfying the needs of the regulators/taxes. Not much room for new lion cubs.

    Secondly, most businesses are not wanting to eat their customers. A good business owner benefits from happy repeat custom.

    Other than that, the problem remains – too much taxation and too much regulation quashing competition.

  5. Secondly, most businesses are not wanting to eat their customers. A good business owner benefits from happy repeat custom.

    You are assuming that the Christians are the customers. What if the customer is the Stadium Operator (Government)?

  6. Bruce

    I hope this gets more attention as I felt the need to push back against this a bit in my recently completed MBA. Really pissed me off, more so since I had the feeling the school in general was going with the flow even though it didn’t agree. (Personal observation only)

    If I carry on with a Phd or DBA I will consider using the research component to demonstrate the absurdity of it all. Not exactly sure how I’ll propose to do that, suggestions welcome.

  7. Tom

    A whole new industrial complex has emerged from the new NGO sector seeking to shape, promote and propagate social policy through business and the private sector. Why bother nationalising business and industry when government and its NGO acolytes can achieve the same political outcomes without the political costs.

    Well, whaddya know!?! As Roger observes above, that makes ours a fascist economy — exactly what the 21st century fascist left ordered.

  8. John Constantine

    It isn’t looting when your cronies can draft laws making it a regulatory requirement.

    You can’t steal from a thief, and all private property is theft from the State.

    Comrades.

  9. Tel

    An excellent essay … now strangely removed from the original Frontpage Mag site. Must have been a little too accurate. Better read and commit to memory before it’s gone.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1144682/posts

    The second thing big business likes about big government is that it has a competitive advantage over small business in doing business with it and negotiating favors. Big government, in turn, likes big business because it is manageable; it does what it is told. It is much easier to impose affirmative action or racial sensitivity training on AT&T than on 50,000 corner stores. This is why big business has become a key enforcer of political correctness.

    Anything sound familiar about that?

  10. Myrddin Seren

    Roger

    This, along with the reliance of governments and corporations upon unelected and unaccountable “experts”, is creeping Fascism.

    I am ever-more minded of this story from Jonah Goldberg of NRO, doing a promo for his ‘Liberal Fascism’ book:

    You know, when I first started pondering the book, I thought it might be all about economics.

    About ten years ago I went on a junket to Switzerland and attended a talk with the CEO of Nestlé.

    Listening to him, it became very clear to me that he had little to no interest in free markets or capitalism properly understood. He saw his corporation as a “partner” with governments, NGOs, the U.N., and other massive multinationals.

    The profit motive was good for efficiency and rewarding talent, but beyond that, he wanted order and predictability and as much planning as he could get.

    I think that mindset informs the entire class of transnational progressives, the shock troops of what H. G. Wells hoped would lead to his liberal-fascist “world brain.”

    If you look at how most liberals think about economics, they want big corporations and big government working in tandem with labor, universities (think industrial policy), and progressive organizations to come up with “inclusive” policies set at the national or international level.

    That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism.

    We now have the situation where big corporates are throwing people whose politics might be deemed ‘right of centre’ or whose business model is legal but getting social down-twinkles out the door.

    Not just Big Tech deplatforming people. But banks and payment processors like Paypal and Patreon booting those guilty of Thoughtcrimes or businesses like gun supplies out the door.

    We aren’t quite at the level of China’s social credit system ( not quite ), but it is not a stretch to imagine notable Cats rolling up at an airport to find their flight reservation cancelled because Wrongthink, and finding their credit card frozen by Woke Capital Bank when they try to book on another airline.

  11. Roger

    That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism.

    If you go back to the original Fascist Manifesto of 1919 (iirc), it’s all outlined.

    The main change is they have swapped out internationalism for nationalism.

  12. Roger

    Or should that be swapped in?

    In any case, you know what I mean. 🙂

  13. Squirrel

    The corporate PC bulldust is enabled, if not totally underwritten, by the ocean of cheap, easy money on which much of the world has been floating since the GFC.

    Sooner or later, that ocean will start to recede (quite possibly due to climate change…..) and reality will begin to bite some well-upholstered backsides.

  14. John A

    The Artist Formerly Known As Spartacus #2955702, posted on March 11, 2019, at 2:56 pm

    Secondly, most businesses are not wanting to eat their customers. A good business owner benefits from happy repeat custom.

    You are assuming that the Christians are the customers. What if the customer is the Stadium Operator (Government)?

    I read the original analogy as indicating that “Christians” were “The Class Formerly Known As Customers”.

  15. Siltstone

    Tel
    #2955723, posted on March 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm
    An excellent essay …

    Thanks for the link Tel – a “must read” article. From 2002. This has been coming in clear sight for decades and now large corporations are fully addicted to PC.

  16. Nob

    It’s like they’re trying to force small companies out of business.

    Some have even said as much to us.

    “We don’t want to deal with small companies. We only deal with you because you have technology we need sometimes”

  17. struth

    Corporatism can’t exist without socialism.

    Corporatism is really, exactly what the socialist Hitler, pursued.

    Letting them operate, but running their agendas and what they can do ( controlling the means of production) as a trade off for allowing them to exist and make some money without fear of competition.

    Big business has tried to buy government favour against smaller competition but it comes at a price.

    Doing deals with the devil benefits no one.

  18. Pedro the Ignorant

    One of the happiest days of my life was the day I signed the contracts and handed over my little company to the new buyer.

    The cold dead hands of government and associated busybodies and stickybeaks was lifted from my ageing and weary shoulders.

    Hallelujah!!

  19. struth

    So Linfox and Tolls in my Industry have tits already stating quite categorically that owner drivers will be taken off the roads.
    We’re closer to Nazi Germany than we think.
    The right are reactionary, not pro active and hence we see ourselves reporting to each other on how we are now being screwed.

  20. Nob

    The subtext out my last post is that you should just sell to a large company or better still just give your technology away.

  21. Pedro the Ignorant

    “We don’t want to deal with small companies. We only deal with you because you have technology we need sometimes”

    From Nob.

    Hear, hear. I had a niche corner of the mining industry that the big companies couldn’t be bothered entering until recent tech advancements started to make it worthwhile for them. Less manpower, less requirement to be on site, economies of scale.

    I got pushed out of a couple of major projects by big companies I had contracted to for years. No “beg pardons”, reasons or apologies, just a couple of “don’t bother tendering” emails from HQ.

    I didn’t mind too much, plenty of other fish in the sea with the big upturn in exploration and re-commissioning of a lot smaller operations.

    Never underestimate the ruthlessness of the major companies when they can see a bottom line advantage.

  22. Behind Enemy Lines

    The business of business is no longer business
    Posted on 1:32 pm, March 11, 2019 by The Artist Formerly Known As Spartacus
    The business of business is no longer business. It is now something completely different.

    Nowadays the business of business is a cocktail of social and socialist agendas funded through higher than necessary prices by businesses protected from competition by government. It is the most recent incarnation of stamocap, state monopoly capitalism.

    This has been a long, long time coming. But faster now, and with less pretense that it’s all ‘good business practice’. We’ve become a nation of high-tech serfs. And I don’t see a way out of it, short of a meteor strike. So I pay as little tax as humanly possible, keep looking for a suitable exit, and dream of Betjeman’s vision for another benighted place:

    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn’t fit for humans now. . . .

  23. TBH

    Bang on, Tel, and few Western countries have it as bad as we do here in OZ. The cozy partnership of unions, politicians and big business have a large portion of the economy locked up and out of the reach of a lot of small to medium enterprises. It then means that the plans of the industry super funds in terms of applying pressure to business will be easier to execute and they’ve started to become pretty brazen about it, knowing that their power is going to become more concentrated and they’ll be egged on by the incoming Labor government.

  24. EvilElvis

    Exactly right, TBH. Then add in the push to can $100 notes and eventually a cashless society, suddenly there’s really nothing to get out of a small business.

  25. Chrism

    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
    ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  26. Geff

    So, repeal the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, but (maybe) give people the choice to allocate 9% or less to their super, with all the current tax concessions, should then wish to do so.

  27. You forgot about ACCC and ASIC who have become interchangeable instruments of enforced competition so that voters see the government as delivering a better lifestyle through lower prices and more recourse in return for their vote.
    Strange thing is that the politicians can’t see that their tax take is lower than it might otherwise be (for company and business tax) and since the GSTtake is the tax on the retail profit margin then they lose there as well. Democracy is doomed now that we have generations trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to vote for their money rather than work for it.

  28. Nato

    TAFKAS, are you ok? This seems like you’re fully charged over the issue. It’s not your usual scoffing.

  29. Nob

    Nato,
    This is a massive issue that’s killing productivity but is invisible to public and hence politicians.

  30. Nowadays the business of business is a cocktail of social and socialist agendas funded through higher than necessary prices by businesses protected from competition by government. It is the most recent incarnation of stamocap, state monopoly capitalism.

    I could take this seriously, if I hadn’t experienced attending “business” meetings run by Education Queensland.
    Previously, they were called planning meetings, but we had to get with the private enterprise vibe to please somebody’s idea of efficiency.
    Not mine….

    I asked why they were called “business” meetings, because we were running a service, not a business.

    There was no answer available, just confused expressions.

  31. Nob

    Does anyone seriously think a bunch of state bureaucrats throwing around business terms, as if they have a clue, is representative of private enterprise?

  32. Nob

    Pedro, it seems the reason why this big company had said it doesn’t want to deal with small companies is that they have grown a bureaucracy so large that it can only be coped with by a vendor with equally large bureaucracy.

    Essentially a swarm of human parasites feasting off the twitching corpse of a very small minority carrying out actual productive enterprise and innovation.

  33. struth

    Essentially a swarm of human parasites feasting off the twitching corpse of a very small minority carrying out actual productive enterprise and innovation.

    This is actually what killed off our mining boom.

    A mining boom that just moves offshore is not over, it’s just been destroyed here.

    That comment above is Australia, and the reason it always fails.
    Anytime any wealth creation or resources boom occurs, people grab folders and parasitically destroy the host.

  34. struth

    We’re talking about the private sector here, numbers, and it cowtowing to Government and big business corporatism interacting with socialist government, and you come on here talking about a bullshit little public service meeting you were in.

    So completely insulated, you parasitic moron.

  35. We’re talking about the private sector here, numbers, and it cowtowing (sic) to Government and big business corporatism interacting with socialist government

    No we’re not.
    We’re having a whinge about crony capitalism.
    It has nothing whatsoever to do with socialism.

  36. struth

    No we’re not.
    We’re having a whinge about crony capitalism.
    It has nothing whatsoever to do with socialism.

    You just proved the point.
    Idiot.

  37. 1735099

    You just proved the point

    There is no “point” to prove.
    A whinge is a whinge is a whinge……

  38. Bushkid

    As a self-employed sole trader business owner, I have fortunately been able to limit the amount of intrusion and the burden of bureaucracy. I can see a time however, when even the “little” people like me will be laden with enough bureaucratic oversight and crap as to make it not worth our while to continue. Thus, we also would be herded into the maw of the all-supporting, all-owning state.

    That is, of course, assuming the economy continues to support client spending. Given the determined drive to destroy our country and economy, I’m not confident.

    On a lighter note regarding lions and Christians slogging it out in the arena, a story has been handed down in our family of my mother, as a little girl, standing gazing up at a large religious-themed etching of the said lions and Christians. She was tearful, and when asked why she was crying, apparently she replied: “One of the lions doesn’t have a Christian!”.
    I have been careful not to enquire too closely as to the veracity of the tale. Contradiction would spoil the image.

  39. Boambee John

    Nob
    #2956237, posted on March 12, 2019 at 9:56 am
    Does anyone seriously think a bunch of state bureaucrats throwing around business terms, as if they have a clue, is representative of private enterprise?

    Numbers?

  40. The Beer Whisperer

    The very people who decry fascism promote a central tenet of it.

    Businesses must now behave as dictated by the state just for the ‘privilege’ of being in business.

  41. Tel

    Woot! They kept an archive of that American Corporatism article by Robert Locke.

    http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=22594

    Link ID seems to have changed, but article content is same. Nice to have the “official” link. Please encourage your friends and family to study and learn about how the world works.

  42. Tel

    Essentially a swarm of human parasites feasting off the twitching corpse of a very small minority carrying out actual productive enterprise and innovation.

    In a world with a lot of parasites around (that’s been the entire Earth for millions of years) you find value having an immune system.

    Putting resources into maintaining a large and expensive defense against the loss of resources that happens in case your defense ever fails … a loss either way … but with luck and a bit of care it can come to a balance. Sometimes extinction is the result, but sometimes the parasites become symbiotic and it settles into a stable but uneasy truce.

    On this topic, evolutionary biologists sometimes call symbiosis “Reciprocal Altruism” which is an incredibly stupid contradiction in terms, and historically wrong too because the correct term is “Trade” on the basis that first naming rights always goes to first discovery, economists were centuries ahead of biologists on this. The detailed terms of trade might be various, but parasitism is one possible path towards “Division of Labour“. Worth thinking about.

  43. Rasputin:

    Strange thing is that the politicians can’t see that their tax take is lower than it might otherwise be (for company and business tax) and since the GSTtake is the tax on the retail profit margin then they lose there as well. Democracy is doomed now that we have generations trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to vote for their money rather than work for it.

    Politians will be already aware of the Laffer Curve, so obviously the aim of high taxation is not to raise revenue – it is to punish the worker.
    Hint:
    The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
    Vladimir Lenin
    Get the picture now?

  44. Destroyer D69

    The most valuable , but least considered ,”shareholders”,or to use the current weasel word ,”stakeholders”, in any commercial operation are those that purchase the product.

  45. John Stankevicius

    Spot especially Tel and Nob. The killer for small business is TRAINING and now the bankruptcy case of Watson wherebthebsmall business owner is unable to protect their personal assets . Directors of public companies do not face these laws nor heads of government departments. Listen to South Tasralias treasurerbMr R Lucas – one hundred million dollars of unauthorises expenditures by the previous health minister . How can he get away with this.

    Further Leah Sales quip about tax cuts- the business owner will just pocket the saving and Mark Latham’s recent comment that small business owner bludgers off the back of their hard working employees.
    Every way you turn tax, licences and registration and the killer – power prices.

  46. Procrustes

    “You are assuming that the Christians are the customers. What if the customer is the Stadium Operator (Government)?”

    Well, that is a problem. But we already knew that.

    If businesses are diverted from serving their customers to serving the government (other than through the rule of law), then we really are in trouble.

    Same, same with any other stakeholder.

    Uncle Milton had it right, companies are responsible to their owners not to stakeholders, within the rule of law.

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