Business is all about solving human problems. Business is a man-centered or man-focused activity or endeavor. You do not engage in business to benefit the environment or a non-human entity. You engage in business to improve man’s life and human environment.
The pursuit of profit or money is simply one of the noblest acts of survival. It is man’s rational selfishness- or greed for money and achievement- that benefits people and society as a whole.
There are two people usually involved in a venture or business- 1) the Scientist or inventor, and 2) the Businessman. The scientist/inventor creates POTENTIAL wealth through his invention or creation. His invention is a potential wealth because it has not yet reached the market. Most scientists are loners… and sometimes ALTRUISTIC like Nikola Tesla. This is the problem with most scientists. Altruistic scientists usually turn to government for funding and distribution of their inventions. One good example of this kind of government was Soviet Russia.
On the other hand, the most important contribution of the Businessman is the delivery or distribution these inventions to domestic or global consumers through mass production. The technologies and products that we use, consume, and enjoy today are made possible by greedy Capitalists who invested their money with the Scientists or inventors.
There were inventors in the past whose creation did not reach or benefit societies. Ever heard of the lost inventions in the past like the Baghdad battery and the great creations of the early scientists in the Library of Alexandria? The early scientists’ inventions did not benefit the world due to the absence of a socio-economic system (Capitalism) that would have supported property rights, intellectual property rights, wealth-creation, trade, and individual rights.
In her book For the New Intellectual, American philosopher Ayn Rand described the relationship between scientists and businessmen in the following manner:
The professional businessman is the field agent of the army whose lieutenant-commander-in-chief is the scientist. The businessman carries scientific discoveries from the laboratory of the inventor to industrial plants, and transforms them into material products that fill men’s physical needs and expand the comfort of men’s existence. By creating a mass market, he makes these products available to every income level of society. By using machines, he increases the productivity of human labor, thus raising labor’s economic rewards. By organizing human effort into productive enterprises, he creates employment for men of countless professions. He is the great liberator who, in the short span of a century and a half, has released men from bondage to their physical needs, has released them from the terrible drudgery of an eighteen-hour workday of manual labor for their barest subsistence, has released them from famines, from pestilences, from the stagnant hopelessness and terror in which most of mankind had lived in all the pre-capitalist centuries—and in which most of it still lives, in non-capitalist countries.
In her essay “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,” Ayn Rand wrote:
Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups—workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers—exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society—the symbol of America. If and when they perish, civilization will perish. But if you wish to fight for freedom, you must begin by fighting for its unrewarded, unrecognized, unacknowledged, yet best representatives—the American businessmen.
In what could be her most prescient description of the state of business in America today, Ayn Rand wrote in her essay “Moratorium on Brains”:
As a group, businessmen have been withdrawing for decades from the ideological battlefield, disarmed by the deadly combination of altruism and Pragmatism. Their public policy has consisted in appeasing, compromising and apologizing: appeasing their crudest, loudest antagonists; compromising with any attack, any lie, any insult; apologizing for their own existence. Abandoning the field of ideas to their enemies, they have been relying on lobbying, i.e., on private manipulations, on pull, on seeking momentary favors from government officials. Today, the last group one can expect to fight for capitalism is the capitalists.