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Good business

Are business values fundamentally different from those which apply in other spheres of life? The belief that the only responsibility of business is to maximise profits does not describe what the best companies actually do. Profit, like happiness, is best pursued indirectly

By John Kay   March 1998

Since the time of Aristotle, business has been disparaged by people of culture and refinement-like ourselves. Critics of business have argued that the people who engage in it are selfish in their motivation, narrow in their interests, and instrumental in their behaviour. The values of business are different from, and inferior to, those of other human activities.

In the past 20 years, something odd has happened. This characterisation of business, previously put forward only by those who were hostile to it, has been adopted by business people themselves. They no longer feel obliged to deny that their motives are selfish,…

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