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HONORING BUSINESS: It ‘Serves’ the People, Too!

I have often felt the Church, its clergy, and it’s institutions do not properly appreciate the social and economic benefits of profit/surplus-measured business enterprises.  The Vatican, my alma mater (University of Notre Dame), and other religious institutions, heap lavish praise on social workers and volunteers, while rarely praising the contributions of businesses and their workers. 

Even many who run businesses – and those who report on business performance – tend to emphasize what a business does for the pockets of owners, investors, and workers.  The predominantly reported view is that businesses exist primarily for the self-serving interests of company stakeholders.  Job creation is, more often than not, reported as the primary goal of the government, and of America’s economic system. 

That’s wrong. 

Businesses exist to serve the needs, wants and expectations of customers and clients – at a profit or surplus adequate to support the operating costs and growth of the businesses, and sufficient to attract investment capital.  Job creation is the result of a successful business – not its primary goal. 

Many people have an exaggerated view of business profitability and fail to understand the process by which a nation’s wealth is increased via the power of Capitalism and Free Enterprise.  They think money is stored under the mattresses of the wealthy, whereas, in fact, it flows back into the economy making everyone more prosperous. 

Many see Wall Street and stock and bond investors and traders as unscrupulous, money-hungry exploiters.  Not true.  Exchanges encourage capital formation, capital investment, and wealth creation – essential ingredients of national prosperity – by minimizing the risk of investing – while measuring the effectiveness of invested capital.  (Government investments are rarely subjected to this kind of scrutiny.) 

As Gary North has written:

[It] is incorrect [to say] that Capitalism is immoral.  Capitalism follows [Adam] Smith’s lead: to be successful, a producer must serve the customer.  [A producer] must appeal to [the customer’s] self-interest.  This is surely moral.  It is anti-coercive.  It does not rely on a badge and a gun to extract wealth from someone else.

Liberal-Leftist Progressives (quasi-Marxists) in the Church, in the political arena, and in the mainstream media simply don’t get it.  The prosperity of any nation is the result of its collective productivity, ingenuity, and private economic investment – less the cost of government and nonproductive entitlements – as measured in non-inflated (constant) dollars.  History has clearly demonstrated that a competitive, customer-service oriented, free-enterprise, work-ethic, entrepreneurial, profit/surplus-motivated, constitutional, sky’s-the-limit economy – is the best way of producing prosperity for the greatest number.

Free market, competitive, customer-service oriented Capitalism is a time-tested, proven, economic discovery that works ― based on freedom, natural law, private property rights, and the private ownership of the means of production and the distribution of goods and services.  It is characterized by free, competitive markets, motivation by profit or surplus, and safety nets for those who cannot care for themselves. 

In a Socialistically oriented economy, many of these functions and forces are taken over by self-serving government bureaucrats, complacent job-fillers, and career politicians – who can’t possibly provide the collective wisdom, experience, and motivation of liberated businesspersons, entrepreneurs, innovators and workers ― operating in a competitive, customer-service oriented, free-enterprise, entrepreneurial, profit/surplus-measured, sky’s-the-limit, economy.



William Pauwels

William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.