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Unformatted text preview: e ‐ Handout Business & Professional Ethics No. 8 Dr. David E. McClean Drucker and Others on American Business Read and consider the questions that follow each quote. PETER F. DRUCKER: “Asked what a business is, the typical businessman is likely to answer, “An organization to make a profit.” The typical economist is likely to give the same answer. This answer is not only false, it is irrelevant.... In fact, the concept is worse than irrelevant: it does harm. It is a major cause of misunderstanding of the nature of profit in our society and of the deep-seated hostility to profit, which are the most dangerous diseases of any industrial society....To know what a business is, we have to start with its purpose. Its purpose must lie outside of the business itself. In fact, it must be in society since business enterprise is an organ of society. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.” (From The Essential Drucker ) Q: What does Drucker mean by the use of the word “irrelevant” in the above quote? Is it true that there is a “deep-seated hostility” to profit? What does Drucker mean by using this construction? Is Drucker right to say that there is “only one valid definition of business purpose”? _________________________ JEFF GATES: “Toward the end of the civil war, Abraham Lincoln warned: ‘We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood.... It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.’” (From Democracy at Risk, Rescuing Main Street from Wall Street ) Q: Do you think Lincoln seriously meant that the Civil War was less “safe” for “the Republic” than the aggregation of wealth in “a few hands”? Does that really make sense?...
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- Spring '08