"In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose." -Jimmy Carter
Was conversing with a couple of young men recently about the Trump phenomenon. We got into a discussion about the type of business practices that were often utilized by our current President, throughout his career. There have been multiple reports that if a deal did not pan out as lucrative as had been projected or expected; Trump would 'renegotiate' the terms of payment with those who had been contracted to do work on said project. The negotiation tactics are familiar to many who have worked with other similar large developers:
"We agreed to pay you $100k; but the deal hasn't panned out how we hoped- so we are willing to pay you $30k."
The small business man is then presented an option:
"You can try to sue me- borrow enough money to attempt to battle my massive team of lawyers; we will drag this out for years, flood your lawyers with reams of paperwork; and during this entire time period you will be stuck in a crippling financial crisis. At the end of it all, you will most likely lose, and be left destitute --- or you can accept the 30 cents on the dollar offer, and walk out of here today with $30k in your pocket."
One gentleman in the conversation then said both tragically and matter of fact:
"Yep. He's a good business man."
They way the guy said it, his voice noted both the moral disgust of the situation; and the very practical realization that this was in fact 'good business'.
This conversation goes exactly and precisely to the core of our current dilemma: this is good business. There is nothing illegal about this. Leveraging your entire strength and weight against those with less resources in order to save your own bottom line, is a great business move.
It is also good business to measure the cost impact of proposed safety measures versus the expense of the lawsuits of those who will die by not providing them. It is also good business to avoid the costs of high regulation; dumping toxins and pollutants into our environment; and depleting our limited natural resources at the expense of the greater good. It is good business to create products where workers rights and protections are at their lowest; to push for the lowest wages possible.
This is good business.
In looking at the Trump phenomenon; I wonder how far down the rabbit hole will we go? Do we hate the player, or do we examine the rules of the game completely?
I've heard it said Trump is the last desperate gasp of a failing business model. This model that glorifies profit, regardless of morality.
As with most things in life; it depends on what we the people will do with the information available to us.
We need a new definition and model for what defines: 'good business'.