Getting Angry At For-profit Companies Is Dumb

A group of like-minded people that band together in the pursuit of a common goal is, generally speaking, considered a normal thing. No one bats an eye at the PTA or a political party.

But, when those people band together to form a for-profit corporation that is immensely successful, it’s suddenly evil. And people act very surprised when the corporation continues to pursue profits.

A group of people that get together to make money in an enterprise are not going to suddenly turn on a dime and decide that “oh, wait, today I’m going to become a non-profit entity”.

If you are one of those people that expect this behavior change you’re giving the human race a lot more credit that it deserves.

On the flip side of this:

  • A group of folks that band together to form a non-profit corporation will not suddenly decide to turn on a dime and pursue profits.
  • A group of people that form a union will not suddenly decide that they would prefer to put the interests of non-union folks above their own.
  • A group of people that form a political party will not suddenly decide that the opposition party’s platform makes more sense and drop their own agenda.

So, to expect that a corporation, LLC or other for-profit business entity will suddenly decide that profits is not the #1 or #2 goal is unrealistic. In fact, having that expectation is downright dumb.

Once you understand this, certain things suddenly start to make sense. You might not like those things but you’ll have an understanding about WHY a corporation behaves the way it does.

In particular, it makes sense why, when labor supply is readily available, Walmart, Amazon, Target etc. will not raise wages.

Anything that will cut into profits will not be done. Because the group of people who form the corporation has done so with the intent to pursue profits. And that is just not going to change. You can drive it underground (which is what happens in more socialistic and communistic societies) but you’re not going to get rid of it.

Changing Behaviors

Once you start to understand the human behavior that underlies their actions, you can find far more effective levers to initiate corporate changes.

By treating corporations as this amorphous blob with no humanity, you lose the ability to understand motivations and therefore the ability to instigate change.

Instead of yelling into the ether about all the bad things they do, maybe figure out a way to get what you want by demonstrating how that changed behavior might be good for the company?

If all you’re gonna do is pointlessly criticize you might eventually have some effect but most of the time you’ll be ignored.

So instead of spending years and years treating companies as big bad animals, you just might find you’re able to instigate more rapid changes simply by understanding and appealing to the the group’s basic motivations for being.

Hypocritical Entities

You know who you should be really angry with? Corporate entities that do no live up to their mantra. For example:

  • Non-profit churches that hoard money and assets – the Catholic church with billions in assets or the Mormon church with a multi-billion dollar endowment.
  • Schools with multi-billion dollar endowments that do not spend them and yet beg for more.
  • Political parties and candidates that promise one thing and deliver something completely different.

For-profit corporations are very up-front about their intentions and motivations – and they routinely get skewered for it. Non-profits like churches and schools routinely violate their public promises and continue to be rewarded and idolized.

Apparently being honest about your intentions is the wrong thing to do. It seems like most people would prefer to get the wool pulled over their eyes on a regular basis instead.

PS: And because corporations and other groups are made up of humans, you can’t really expect perfection. When you do demand that, expect to be ignored. And, just like all humans, you can expect a portion of them to act extremely badly. How well has penalizing the entire human race for the behavior of just a few worked out so far? Yeah, you can expect the same if you apply that to corporations too…

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