Ethics or Profit
Confused whether to choose Ethics or Profit in the business, Let’s discuss a clear distinction and relation between both. Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior. The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which means custom, habit, character or disposition. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy. Let us understand the meaning of profit before knowing relationship between the two before deriving conclusion on the topic of Ethics or Profit.
Profit is a financial benefit that is realized when the amount of revenue gained from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs and taxes.
Relation between Ethics and Profit
There are broadly two schools of thoughts that exist regarding the relation between ethics and profit. One school of thought believes that ethics are prerequisites for a business to be profitable in a longer run.
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The other thought is that ethics and profit are mutually exclusive to each other. If a company is ethical, it may not be profitable. It is a common belief that a profitable company must necessarily be unethical in some or the other way.
No-Profit target is unethical for a company
It is unethical, for a company, to make losses. Because, a company which can not make profits and makes losses, misutilises scarce national resources can not pay back creditors, does not make wealth for its shareholders, make huge liabilities, upsets the economy, promotes inefficiency and most importantly, can not, at any cost discharge its social responsibility, meet its welfare commitments and jeopardizes the future of its employees. Such a loss- making company becomes a nuisance and a burden to the economy and has not right to exist in the market place. Moreover, it has no business to force its employees into economic insecurity, which is highly unethical.
Business needs to remain ethical for its own good. Unethical actions and decisions may yield results only in the very short run. For the long existence and sustained profitability of the firm, business is required to conduct itself ethically and to run activities on ethical lines. Doing so would lay a strong foundation for the business for continued and sustained existence. All over the world, again and again, it has been demonstrated that it is only ethical organisations that have continued to survive and grow, whereas unethical ones have shown results only as flash in the pan, quickly growing and even more quickly dying and forgotten.
Business needs to function as responsible corporate citizens of the country. It is that organ of the society that creates wealth for the country. Hence, business can play a very significant role in the modernization and development of the country, if it chooses to do so. But this will first require it to come out from its narrow mentality and even narrower goals and motives.
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-Geetika Goyal (Team Itslyf)
“Ethics or Profit”