“Wealth, noun, an abundance of valuable possessions or money. “He used his wealth to bribe officials.”” Google definition
A business isn’t a business unless it’s making money. Profit is an essential component of business. This is true whether you are selling widgets or are serving the needy. Somewhere along the line making money has gotten a black eye. The more successful you are at making money the more suspect your company is in some circles. I find it interesting that an online search for a definition of wealth included a sentence demonstrating its use about bribery. It seems as though popular thinking says that the only way to make a lot of money is by lying, cheating or stealing. While some companies are guilty, I don’t believe most achieved their success this way. Large incorporated businesses are simply small businesses that grew up. They are success stories to be celebrated. Most started as small operations with just one or two visionaries with the persistence and courage to make their ideas a reality. We can all point to cases of corporate greed and soul-sucking corporate culture. Are they the norm, or a cautionary tale of what happens when a company fails to intentionally live out its vision and values?
I’m sure you’ve heard how the world’s eight richest men own more wealth than over 3 billion of the poorest. It is a startling statistic designed to create a sense of inequity. These men are not parasites exploiting the masses. Microsoft’s Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffet, telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, fashion magnate Amancio Ortega, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and New York City entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg have created enterprises that employ hundreds of thousands, improve the lives of billions, and give away massive amounts of money to charities. Regardless of what you think of their products or services, you must admit that their success has made a positive difference in the world. Free enterprise, or capitalism, has made private wealth possible. Thanks to capitalism “the world’s poor have been climbing out of poverty at the fastest rate in human history.” (Johan Norberg) The populist left highlights the disparity of these eight men compared to the billions in poverty, making it seem as though something evil or wrong has been done. In doing this they miss the point that the wealth created by Gates and the others did not diminish the poor at all, but created opportunities to escape poverty.
There is a mistaken notion that there is only so much wealth available in the world, that it is like slices of a single pie. If I get more, then you have to get less. This simply is not true. The universe is abundant, and all the world benefits when one of us succeeds. “Wealth is good, and the more people who can create and earn it, the better. All decent people should worry about what the very poor lack. If you obsess instead on what the rich have, you’ve got it wrong.” (Jeff Jacoby)
Beware of “conscious” business coaches or consultants who mistakenly believe compassion for the poor must come at the cost of individual or corporate success. Be careful of a business mentor who fails to recognize how free enterprise and capitalism are the very systems that make his or her work possible. And don’t let anyone tell you that wealth is wrong. Money is the best tool we have to create a better world for every man, woman, and child. I believe it is possible to succeed and create wealth without cheating my health, my family, or my world, and that by engaging in purposeful profit making ventures, my life and the lives of others will be blessed.