Prose by Wayne VisserBusiness is the lifeblood coursing through the veins of society, pulsing with creative spirit, transforming the earth’s raw gifts into food to sustain our needs, energy to power our imaginations, blocks to build our dreams. The heart of business is service, flexing with tireless reciprocity, pumping multifarious products of enterprise through lubricant trade arteries to the farthest reaches of the global body-civic. When the heart is strong, and the arteries are clear, and the blood is clean, the constitution of civilization is likely to be healthy; But when service is sacrificed for greed, and trade is inequitably distributed, and business is corrupt of values, the integrity of the community is likely to be diseased. When the circulation of benefits is poor, numbness follows and rot eventually sets in; When wealth congeals in the hands of too few, it is only a matter of time before the clot causes a brain haemorrhage; When unethical behaviour builds up in the commercial system like viscous cholesterol, a cardiac arrest is the inevitable conclusion. Business serves its purpose best when it flows freely and widely, unbound by the constrictions of petty bureaucrats and their obsessive need to tie tourniquets of red-tape; Free from the interference of fickle politicians and their compulsive habit of pulling strings and trading favours; Free from the drain of financial vampires and their unquenchable thirst for higher growth and profits and packages at all costs. Business nourishes society when it is the conduit for sharing knowledge and passion and wisdom; When it is the stimulus for nurturing growth and development and integrity; When it is the means for meeting the needs of those most vulnerable, living on the desperate margins of the world. Business bleeds society when it thoughtlessly injures the planet or harms its people; When it incarcerates the human spirit or enslaves creative minds; When it becomes infected with the cancer of acquisitive means to selfish ends. Responsibility for business, be it good or ill, is always collective. Even to speak of business as a separate, engagable entity, is a fallacy, created for the convenience of theoreticians, philosophers and others who wish to stand aside and commentate on life, rather than experience it first hand. Business is not, can never be, separate from society, neither from the people who animate its communities, or the natural environment which sustains its continued existence. Where would one begin and the other end? We are all economic agents – customers, employees, shareholders, employers, managers – inextricably linked, permeable, interdependent – a grand synergy. In the final analysis, we – each, individually, and together, collectively – are business and business is us. It is the same life-giving blood that courses through all our veins.
Wayne Visser © 2005
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