Monday, June 20, 2016

Why to Work, reprise

   The following citation from a man who heads a company that trains inspectors and who authors material toward this end. He authored a publication that is meant to persuade inspectors to purchase qualification through his organization so that they, and he in the process, can become fabulously wealthy.  


[My text] answers [the question of how to become financially rich as an home inspector.] Remember, the purpose of being in business--any business--is to make money. If you want to make a good living, don't go into business. Instead, get a good job. The only reason to be in business and take on all that it entails is to make a really, really great living and to pile up stacks of money for yourself and your family. N.G., advertisement for STACKS: A Home Inspector's Guide to Increasing Gross Revenue.
   This business ethic is fundamentally and irrevocably opposite to my own ethic as a business man and inspector. Hedonistic, selfish, and just stupid. In one of the earliest posts in this stream, we discussed ethical motivations for behavior. In this scheme, motivations were broken down into four broad options:

1. ethical egoism -- behaving in a way to serves me and mine; 
2. utilitarianism -- behaving in a manner that serves the majority number of people; 
3. deontology -- behaving in a manner that is necessary, proper, or right -- behaving on principle. 
4. altruistic -- behaving in a manner that assists others with little or no regard for self. 

    There certainly are other reasons for being in business other than accruing piles of money for oneself and family, a classic ethical egoistic motivation for working. Among alternatives could simply be to live a quiet and peaceful life, slowly and deliberately doing right in an occupation, treating others with honor, with the expectation (or hope!) that normative financial obligations of life would be met. 

***

   Imagine a business occupation as a large field of grain. Some business persons work very hard to put a fence around this field, claim it for themselves, and deny or hinder access to others. Others realize that the grain field is not their exclusive domain, that there is ample room for themselves and others, and to work to live rather than living to work. Some do just fine by gleaning the grains left over once the big shot harvesters have come and gone.

   Coming from a theistic conviction -- that a potent, provident, providing, personal God exists -- I am struck by efforts of us humans to ceaselessly advance the self, to inflate the pocketbook, to pat oneself on the back (tooting one's own horn, etc.), and to grab the whole grain field to the exclusion or detriment of others. What a funny contrast life presents in general with the "looking out for #1" attitude that is so prevalent, but especially in this atmosphere of running a business.

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