Finance Minister Chidambaram released CCS’s Morality of Markets and Economic Freedom of the World (India reprint)on November 10. My inspiration to edit Morality of Markets came from the answer of IIM-Lucknow students. In reply to my query about what kind of career they would like, a majority of them preferred one in the non-profit sector. I was shocked! Business school gradutes didn’t want to work in business!
I am sure majority of them are now working in the for-profit sector. They must have found some way to rationalise that change of heart: the world is not for idealists; there are no good opportunities in non-profit; parents/friends want me to make money; non-profits are as corrupt, if not more.
They rationlised their choice, but they feel shame in working for profits. Why? Simple economics tells us that companies make money by having large number of repeat customers, that is, by offering better products at cheaper prices. A company can make some money by cheating a few, but real money (a Narayan Murthy amount)can’t be earned by fraud. Therefore the higher the profits, the more the social service that the company has provided. Working for profits, within the rule of law, is actually performing social service.
In reality, compared to social workers, business workers do more social service. Social workers consciously intend to do social service but they rarely succeed in eliminating the problem. Business workers intend to make money but the result of their actions is genuinely social service. They solve the most critical problem of poverty, not just treat the symptoms of poverty, as social workers mostly do.
If you have any doubts, just ask: How does the social worker get resources to support himself while working for the needy? And the resources required to help the needy?
Wealth creation comes before wealth consumption.
The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.