The Triumph of Business
Business used to be a dirty word - and still is in many places.
It wasn't long ago that rich-by-inheritance types would sneer at those who were rich-through-business, especially in the "old" world.
We've still got a long way to go, but there is no doubt that business is winning. And for that we have the USA to thank - for providing truly inspiring business leaders, and the social climate where making money through business is not only "okay", but admired.
This business "model" is spreading throughout the developed world and the internet is accelerating its progress.
In fact, the internet is perhaps the greatest business "educator" out there.
Just consider one of the main advantages of the net. It's the possibility it creates of doing business with the whole world. This leads entrepreneurial types of all shapes and sizes to try their hand at online business.
Whether it's of the gargantuan PayPal or eBay variety, or the humble work-at-home mom, peddling her favourite recipes via a self-published e-book - the opportunities are staggering.
However, like any business environment, there are no guarantees, and there is no free lunch. Being successful online is no easy option. But it is achievable, and more importantly, it's an environment where everybody gets an equal chance.
It doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor; educated or uneducated; white or black; good looking or ugly; fat or slim - the internet offers opportunity to all comers, regardless of so many of the factors that influence success and failure in the "old" world.
The internet and its driving business philosophy is opening doors which were locked shut before. Now you have get-up-and-go types in India, the Philippines, Asia, and even Africa, who are able to use the internet to equalise their opportunities with people in the rest of the world.
Just as America was the "land of opportunity" for the millions of migrants in past decades - now the internet is the new promised land, offering equality of opportunity to all comers.
The internet is bringing the philosophy of business into ordinary homes in ways that state schooling never did. It's exposing people to the business "way of thinking" - and making heroes of those who rise to the top.
Think for a minute. If you want to get rich, what are your options?
Well, you can become a criminal; you can rely on chance - like lotto - or even an inheritance; or you can make money in business.
Even from a cursory glance at such options, you can see that business makes the most sense, and is the only rational choice - if you want to control your own destiny, AND stay out of jail!
However, the fight to improve the image of business has been long and bitter - and is not yet over. But things are definitely improving.
It's interesting to look at how business and "moneymaking" is perceived. And there are many cultural clues to point the way.
Consider the following:
In most countries, if you win at lotto or at the gaming tables, your winnings are tax-free. But if you "win" at business, you are penalised by taxes.
The hidden "message" is - get money by luck and that's okay. Get money by work, and we'll punish you!
In most countries, the main way of raising revenue is to tax work - which is indirectly a tax on business itself (as all workers are employed by some business or other - except non-workers in government!). Think of income tax as a "fine" system. It fines business success.
In most countries, sports and media stars are more popular than business "stars". They appear more glamorous - and their riches are not considered as "bad" as a successful business person's.
In most countries it's "cool" to put sport stars, pop stars and movie stars on a pedestal, but "bad taste" to offer similar accolades to those successful in business.
This lack of admiration for business comes down to a bad attitude about money and work. Business is about making money. And to many people money is still "bad".
Crusty old phrases and sayings like "filthy lucre" and "love of money is the root of all evil" come to mind, as does the Biblical line, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Jesus, as quoted in the gospel of Matthew)
It's not hard to see how religion has had a negative impact on the popular view of business and money.
It's also "bad" to the intellectual elite of all countries - the ones who create (and infest) the educational systems and thereby influence the culture.
Such "intellectuals" hate money - because they don't know how to make it. And considering themselves the intellectual elite, they despise the people who CAN make it!
So business has been, and still is, constantly attacked by the twin fortresses of both organised religion and state education.
This is what makes the triumph of business all the more remarkable, because it is winning against all odds. It is winning despite being considered "unworthy". It is winning because of a hard dose of reality.
And what is so ironical about all this, is that business is perhaps the most MORAL of influences on society and the individual.
Just consider what it takes to be successful in business:
Commitment; persistence; passion; discipline; integrity; honesty; self responsibility; trustworthiness; vision; optimism; loyalty; intelligence; skill; resourcefulness, self esteem; confidence, creativity, energy.
And I could think of more.
The point is, becoming successful in business is like attending a school of hard knocks - where you learn by your mistakes, and succeed to the degree that you assimilate the characteristics above.
Business demands the very best that is within you - and more. The profit motive is the driving force. And I don't just mean profit in a purely monetary sense - but profit in every way, where you are able to gain and keep those things which are valuable to you.
Everybody has a profit motive - no exceptions!
The highly successful business person exhibits extraordinary human qualities - qualities that are not handed out on a plate, but which must be "self-made".
The business person is a "creator" - the alchemist who turns dreams into reality.
The successful business person is a hero - and for perhaps the first time in history, we are seeing an awakening recognition of that fact.
My optimistic side sees this development as incredibly important as we move forward - as it is the business mind, the business morality, that will get us out of the political/educational quagmire we have made for ourselves.
I also see hope in the rise of China as a counterbalance to the negative influence of our western religious and educational philosophies.
Why? Because China has a long history of "doing business", and more importantly, a complete absence of the antibusiness mentality that has plagued most other societies.
Now that China is on the rise, its business-minded ethos will be a major competitive force in the emerging new world. This competition from China - with its low taxes, hard work ethic, get ahead philosophy and minimal legislative overhead - will impact on every country on earth.
It will provide a stark choice for the decaying socialist welfare societies - that of either putting up or shutting up.
Under competition from the emerging Chinese mega-economy, each country will face a choice: either to also embrace a more business-friendly environment in order to get ahead, or to reject such changes and fight a rearguard action in order to maintain the status quo.
The outcome, however, is clear. The world-to-come (should it survive the totalitarian, war-mongering end game) will be no place for socialist namby-pambies, power-driven politicians, or envy-driven intellectuals.
Rather, it will be a place where the qualities of the rational business person will become commonplace, and as a result, the world will become more peaceful, progressive and prosperous.
The world desperately needs the dreams of the busines person. For it is these dreams which have produced all the material goods and services that make our lives so enjoyable.
We've had enough of a world based on the nightmares of the political and religious class. It's time for a radical change.
Yours in freedom