Since the recession and the austerity measures put in place to cut the nation’s bills, there has been a lot of big business bashing. Profit has become a dirty word. The wealthy few percent have become a hated demographic. In this country and around the world. But I’m not really sure why.
Hate for the right things
Let me set my stall out from the off. I do not agree with big business and wealthy people bending every rule to pay little or not tax. It’s not a moral way to go about things. However, until the various Government around the world feel compelled to close these loopholes, it will continue. So whilst the world complains, expect big business to continue getting away with it until they legally cannot.
But my frustration is that all big businesses and wealthy people seem to have been tarred with the same brush. Just as the window and door industry has been tarred by the rogues and cowboys. There are some very good window and door companies out there, and there are some very good big businesses out there as well. Those that do pay the right amount of tax, pay their staff well etc. Little gets said about them. The public’s hate and criticism should be directed at those that deserve it, not at business in general.
Distain for the wealthy
The richest 1%. A term often accompanied by claims of “that’s not fair”, “what about me”, “there’s no opportunities for anyone else”. All terms I disagree with massively. I’m not in that 1% bracket by the way. Still working my way up to that point!
It’s almost as if the public is saying that the wealthiest shouldn’t be deserving of it. As though there should be some sort of cap in place to stop these people becoming so rich and so wealthy. That’s the attitude I get when I read some of the commentary around issues of wealth. Wouldn’t be a cap be a tad communistic?
After all, it might not occur to people that at least some of the people included in that 1% range might have actually worked damn hard to get where they are today? Fortunes that have been worked on, not handed down or freely given? People who have put in 18 hour days for year after year, to finally see all their hard work pay off in a big way?
I’m working my backside off right now to make a success of everything I’m involved in, and yes I hope to make a good amount of money out of it as well. Supposing I do climb the ladder of wealth, should I be chastised and frowned upon for being wealthier than others? I hope not.
The gap between rich and poor in this country and around the world is indeed way too large. I’m not denying that. But rather than have people say that the rich are too rich, why not focus on creating more opportunities for those not in the 1% bracket. How about trying to lift people out of poverty? Complaining that the wealthiest have too much money isn’t going to solve that problem.
As for the idea taxing the rich more, I’m all aboard for that. Millionaires and billionaires can afford to pay more in tax, that’s obvious. And should I be lucky enough to reach their status, I’d be more than happy to pay more in tax than those on lower incomes. It’s only fair that the wealthier, given their success and comfortable living, contribute more to the world that has given them so much.
Big business benefits
Rather than being spiteful and jealous of those around us with more wealth, lets congratulate them on their success. At the end of the day, the wealthiest few percent in this country and around the world are the ones that own and run the big businesses.
The very big businesses that employ thousands and thousands of people. The big businesses that (on the most part) pay large tax revenues to Government. The big businesses that contribute to people’s pensions when they retire from working for the company. The big businesses that constantly push product development and technology so you can do things like read this post from whatever device you’re using.
Big business, for it’s various faults and imperfections, is vital for many other reasons. It’s not perfect, and I’m not saying that. But lets apply some rationale and common sense before the anarchists get their way and try and tear the whole ecosystem apart.
In the UK, we are lucky enough to live in a country with plenty of opportunity. Technology and the internet has created an environment where pretty much anyone can make a success out of themselves should they put the effort in. Other countries around the world do not have this luxury, lets remember this.
Lets also remember that some of the wealthiest in this country have become wealthy because they are good at doing it! Something that should be celebrated. It would be wrong to suggest that for the sake of those who aren’t in the 1% that there should be limits on how much someone has or is worth.
Profit is not a dirty word
I think over most other things, this is what grinds my gears the most. The idea of profit for some people is almost the work of the devil. It is not.
Profit is NOT a dirty word. Profit is a vital element to every single person and company in the world. Without profit, businesses would not exist, and without businesses people wouldn’t have jobs. Profits allow businesses to grow and develop, therefore employing more people. Profit is a GOOD thing. Profit is a GREAT thing. The more businesses make, the healthier the economy is which is good news for everyone.
Profit as a term has been dragged through the mud due to the behaviour and performances of some of the world’s biggest companies. However this is not the fault of business, rather the fault of those people where greed was allowed to take over and cloud their decisions. It was for example the greed of certain bankers within Lehman Brothers bank which caused it’s collapse, and subsequently the world financial crisis. Those bankers chasing their own personal targets for massive bonuses meant the bank lent way too much money to people who could not pay it back. That is not the fault of that whole business, but the fault of those people who lent irresponsibly and those who allowed it to happen.
Remember why businesses exist. It is not to break even. Not to provide a service or product free of charge. It is to make money.
So, for those with a Napoleon complex and a chip on their shoulder, as you’re about to start to complain that someone has more money than you, consider that they might have worked hard to get to their position. Consider that their business is doing a good job. They are making profits which contribute to the economy. These are not bad people. These are people that have succeeded at what they do, and that is a great thing.