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Business Society & Ethics Analysis Essay

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Updated: Nov 23rd, 2019

Summary

The chosen article is entitled “In Business for Life” by Judy Wicks. She endorses community self reliance through the growth of local business. Wicks (3) has personal experience in local communities since she owns two such businesses and also spearheaded a fair food movement.

The author created this group in order to get other businesses to promote local growth. Her interest in this approach began when she learnt about the plight of farm animals in the food industrial complex. Her concern about global warming, peak oil and the loss of work amongst local farmers caused her to adopt this lifestyle, as well. She only serves products that come from local enterprises and encourages other businesses to do the same.

Wicks (33) claims that businesses are intended on promoting common good rather than the selfish interest of a few stakeholders. Her solution to today’s environmental problems lie in shifting business practices away from competition to cooperation. Judy Wicks urges individuals to identify with the suffering of others in order to find fulfilment in life.

Research update

Two ideas that can be updated include: greed in business practices and how communities can build sustainable businesses. In the article, the author questions the basic premise of business. Many individuals measure business success on the basis of continuous growth, yet democracy depends on multiple ownership (Wicks 23). The industrial economy ignores the needs of the masses.

Economic growth from this business approach does not benefit all as the wealthy become wealthier when other people’s affluence keeps declining (Wicks 15). Furthermore, businesses have been corrupted to become instruments of greed. At this point, the author would have talked about the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008, since she delivered the lecture in 2006.

The 2007 to 2008 financial crisis emanated from powerful elites who dominate the financial industry. The US banking sector is controlled by an oligarchy, which consists of few players that can affect the entire economy. They made poor decisions and took too many risks, yet their actions had a wide-reaching impact on the population.

Bankers gave subprime mortgages to people with questionable credit in order to enjoy interests earned on their loans. Consumers continued to take out loans on their homes from banks, which still financed them. Instead of exercising discretion, these financial institutions let greed drive them and thus perpetuated the housing burst, mortgage defaults and the financial crisis (Reavis 19). The author could have illustrated how focus on greed is destructive even to those who benefit from it.

Wicks (15) also explained that local communities can create sustainable businesses by doing import replacement. She also endorsed the concept of fair trade. Governments could protect the interests of their citizens by ensuring that goods which cannot be produced locally are imported fairly.

In recent years (between 2008 and 2012), some local governments have made several initiatives that have assisted in meeting this goal. The author could have talked about the application of the idea if she wrote it more recently. A case in point was the city of El Paso in Texas.

The Mayor and his council are at the forefront of the sustainability movement. They are talking to locals about how to do business sustainably (Okubo 48). The mayor links residents to local farmers, vendors to local businesses and transport providers to markets. Therefore, local councils can act as matchmakers between members of local communities and businesses in order to meet sustainability goals.

Critical analysis

The major advantage of building local communities where people work and live in the same area is that it benefits a wider range of people than the industrial complex. First, local farmers can still stay in business and enjoy profits. Additionally, small-scale entrepreneurs can survive and even enjoy high profits by having a ready and conveniently located market base (Gershon 92). Vendors do not have to waste money, fuel or time to get their produce to other parts of the country.

Residents or members of these communities get to enjoy better prices or quality of products because the decision makers are close to them. They can boost their health by eating unprocessed and organic produce. Consumers can also save their environment by minimising wastage, which stems from the industrial complex. This will cushion them against peak oil, pollution and global warming.

On the flipside, local communities would oppose neoliberal principles that the US firmly endorses. Big businesses have grown tremendously because they have higher chances of success.

Economies of scale, operational benefits and risk minimisation explain why stakeholders in the industrial complex make a lot of money. They are better for the economy than small business. Statistics indicate that over half of all small businesses close after three years in operation, yet most of these institutions get loans for start-ups and operation (Epstein 8).

Such entrepreneurs cannot pay their loans when they default. If more small businesses were to grow as Wicks (24) suggests, then more institutions would loose money to defaulters and this would hurt the economy. Additionally, Wicks claims that big businesses tend to benefit the rich. However, she has forgotten that several individuals own shares in publically traded companies, so wealth distribution still occurs in the industrial complex, albeit in a differential manner.

Besides, if most of America were to adopt her business model, then entrepreneurs would not be insulated against external shocks. Small businesses are highly susceptible to fluctuations in the economy as they have less capital (Epstein 19). Consequently, they would have to lay off workers or close up if the country underwent another economic downturn. Wicks (18) needs to consider these challenges before she can make sweeping statements about the plausibility of locally-driven businesses.

Recommendations

The author should update information about the role of local governments in sustainable communities. This would concretise her examples. As the article is, the author has merely mentioned the strategies used to build local businesses but has not talked about the parties involved. The author may also improve the piece by adding recent developments in the financial sector. Since the article is about failures of current approaches to business, then it is only prudent to include one of the biggest crises in business to date.

Perhaps, the author should also consider the role of big corporations in sustainability. The benefits of large scale businesses cannot be ignored. Consequently, a reorientation of the business approach in these entities is imperative in making the country sustainable. Talking about the issue of sustainable business practices in large businesses would provide a more realistic approach to the environment problems faced today. The author is endorsing a utopian lifestyle by only focusing on locally-owned businesses.

Works Cited

Epstein, Ethan. Are small businesses good for the economy? 2009. Web.

Gershon, Daven. Green Living Handbook: A 6 Step Program to Create an Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle. Woodstock, N.Y.: Empowerment Institute, 2008. Print.

Okubo, Dennis. “Local governments and the economics of community sustainability.” National Civic Review 2012: 45-54. Web.

Reavis, Cate. The Global Financial Crisis of 2008: The role of greed, feat and oligarchs. 2012. Web.

Wicks, Judy. “In Business for Life.” Yes Magazine. 2007. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Business Society & Ethics Analysis." November 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/business-society-ethics-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Business Society & Ethics Analysis'. 23 November.

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