I’ve been hearing an awful lot lately about how the recent election is going to bring in elected officials who are more “pro-business.” Most of the news reports mention some sort of lifting of consumer protections or deregulation. Now as you know we don’t do politics here but since the political stuff involves business, I’m considering it fair game, especially since it raises a big question in my mind as I listen to all the news reports.
We were watching a story about this last night and I asked a question out loud: since when did business and consumers become adversaries? I can hear you all wondering about how much fun dinner must be at my place with this ranting going on. Nevertheless, it seems to me that businesses are there to serve the needs of consumers and that consumers’ lives would be far less pleasant if many businesses weren’t available to offer products and services. Yes, I realize that not every business serves “consumers” but I think most do even if they’re one or two steps removed from direct consumer interaction.
It’s one of those symbiotic relationship things. Call it mutualism. What you can’t have it become is another form of symbiotic relationship: a parasite. Businesses are supposed to be accountable to their consumers and I’m very aware that many of them think otherwise. Accountability to stockholders (which many take to mean THE BOTTOM LINE) is where many of them are and I think that’s impossible to achieve without an engaged, passionate consumer base. The notion of businesses precipitating actions that benefit themselves at the expense of consumers is just as wrong as the thought of regulating businesses simply to stifle growth rather than protect the interests of the public. While I know it sounds naive, why would either side want it to be otherwise? Neither can exist very well without the other in the long run and the notion of one faction being inherently anti the other is impossible.
What’s your take? I’m less interested in the politics of this than I am the logical and ethical side. Let’s hear it.