exists to provide life-sustaining jobs and useful goods and services.
makes a profit so that it can continue providing jobs, goods, and services; but rather than sitting on excessive earnings or turning them into fat bonuses, creates new products or hires more workers or increases overall employee compensation.
manages its affairs so that not just executives and shareholders but also rank-and-file employees are adequately compensated.
keeps honest and transparent accounts so that its directors, contractors, shareholders, and employees can make informed decisions.
markets its products honestly, not making misleading claims or delivering shoddy merchandise or poor service.
assures healthy working conditions for all of its employees at home and abroad, refusing to outsource to anyone who uses child labor, sweatshops, toxic working environments, or slave labor.
makes sure that its methods and materials preserve the environment for future generations at home and abroad, and takes responsibility to clean up any environmental disasters it inadvertently causes.
does not attempt to profit through taking advantage of consumers’ ignorance, addictions, or desperation.
does not lobby or bribe lawmakers so as to be excused from ethical behavior in any of the above areas, or so as to gain an advantage over other companies.
gives back to the community not only through creating jobs, goods, and services; but also, whenever possible, by providing funding for community projects, rewarding employees who engage in community service, and supporting legislation that fosters the common good.
Imagine that you have been given the assignment of designing the Industrial Revolution - retrospectively. With respect to its negative consequences, the assignment would have to read something like this:
Design a system of production that:
puts billions of pounds of toxic material into the air, water, and soil every year
produces some materials so dangerous they will require constant vigilatnce by future generations
results in gigantic amounts of waste
puts valuable materials in holes all over the planet, where they can never be retrieved
requires thousands of complex regulations— not to keep people and natural systems safe, but rather to keep them from being poisoned too quickly
measures productivity by how few people are working
creates prosperity by digging up or cutting down natural resources and then burying or burning them
erodes the diversity of species and cultural practices
…We see a world of abundance, not limits. In the midst of a great deal of talk about reducing the human ecological footprint, we offer a different vision. What if humans designed products and systems that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture, and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe, our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament?
Consider this: all the ants on the planet, taken togeter, have a biomass greater than humans. Ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years. Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn’t have a design problem, people do.