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What's Wrong with Business and Industry?
By Herbert W. Armstrong
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION threaten to erase human life from the earth! What part have business and industry played in the modern society that now stands on the brink of human extinction?
Surely, when we look at modern business, industry and commerce we find the spectacle of modern development that excites enraptured admiration, Or has this facet of civilization contributed to the CAUSE of humanity's plight today? If a Lincoln, a Vanderbilt or an Emerson could come back to life today, he would gasp in amazed wonderment at the astonishing development of modern business and industry!
The amazing development of the telephone, motion picture in full color, radio, television, motor car, mammoth oil tankers, jet planes, spacecraft hurtling men around the earth in 90 minutes, men traveling to the moon and back, unmanned spacecraft transmitting close-up pictures of the Martian surface to earth, the incredible modern computers and almost every conceivable technical business machine, as well as modern mass industrial production and modern sales and distribution systems—all this would cause men of a short hundred years ago to gasp in awe! What AMAZING PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT!
Commerce and industry is a world within a world—a fast-moving, pulsating world of high-geared activity. Surely all these magic advancements could in no way have contributed to the EVILS that face our world today?
Seemingly not. But if we look deeper we find in this facet of society the same evils that have CAUSED humanity's debacle today. We find these vibrant, high-pressure fields of activity motivated by self-seeking competition and greed. And too often, in selling and marketing products, the sales appeal has been to vanity and wrong desires, utilizing dishonesty, misrepresentation, deception, unfair dealing. The motivating incentive is to "GET"—give less while charging more.
There are basics to life we usually do not look deeply enough to see. There are, basically, only the two broad ways of life. They travel in opposite directions. I state them very simply. The one is LOVE, meaning outflowing concern for the good of others, cooperation, serving, sharing. I term it "GIVE." The opposite way to which this world is drawn is "GET."
At an ad-club luncheon back in 1910,1 heard a speaker ring out with emphasis, "Competition, NOT COOPERATION, is the life of trade today!" We all seemed to believe that then. But later, my wise "Ben Franklin" uncle, Frank Armstrong, then leading advertising man in Iowa, explained it to me differently.
"The value of business conventions," he observed, "lies in COOPERATION. Jones has used a new idea that reduces costs. He shares his experience, and all profit—none is hurt. Smith tells how he increased sales and distribution into new markets. All profit by his experience—none is hurt."
But human nature simply doesn't see it that way. That's the way the Creator designed it—but humans differ with him who said, "It is more blessed to GIVE than to receive." Unfortunately that has been regarded as impractical idealism. Yet EVERY EVIL IN TODAY'S SICK, SICK WORLD HAS BEEN CAUSED BY THE "GET" MOTIVE—self-advantage at the cost of others, vanity, coveting, lust and greed-—envy and jealousy, hostile competition, strife, violence, war, destruction. And above all, resentment of authority!
Unfortunately the basic activating motive in modern business and industry has been the "GET" philosophy. In spite of materialistic advances, humanity's problems are spiritual—and the spiritual incentive has been "GET"—"ME FIRST!" Result? In spite of materialistic advances there has been spiritual retrogression. Trouble, evils, suffering and anguish engulf the world.
"Is honesty the best policy?" A magazine survey put this question to 103 business executives, all high in their lines. An overwhelming majority doubted whether a strictly honest policy would enable one to rise to the top in the business world. Only two answered yes, and one of these said he knew he was being naive. Looking more deeply, past the materialistic advances in the business world, there has been selfish motivation, dishonesty, dog-eat-dog competition, disregard for the good of others, sharp practices.
This facet of modern civilization, like modern education, government, science and technology, has moved in the direction opposite from the foundational spiritual law of our Maker. It has contributed to bringing man's world to an apparent state of hopelessness and a soon future of utter destruction.
But that super-strong "unseen hand from someplace" is now about to intervene. He sends a voice crying out with the world's only and sure hope! That intervention will save humanity from itself. A new and different world of PEACE, HAPPINESS, and ABUNDANCE for all IS that sure hope. Mankind won't bring it about. It will have to be done TO humanity—and our motivation shall be changed from "GET" to "GIVE!" Agree or not—IT is SURE!