Business In The Community

Businesses drive the economy and generate the taxes that pay for education, health and other public services. The private sector creates the majority of jobs and our collective standard of living depends on its ability to keep doing so. Why then are businesses so often seen in a negative light?

Business matters

Even though big businesses are often treated with a generous dose of suspicion they generate the money to pay for schools, hospitals and other services we rely on to survive.

Businesses create value and provide choice for people and communities in a way that touches the lives of millions of people every day.

They also provide much of the creativity and innovation needed to nourish a prosperous and peaceful society.

Businesses operating in a free market capitalist economy allow entrepreneurs to flourish in a way that has not been replicated by any other organising system.

Critics abound

Critics, however, argue that big businesses are bad for society and focus on the extremes and wrong doings of a small but visible minority.

They highlight the short-term nature of investment decisions and the tendency of some businesses to put profit before people and efficiency before the environment.

Critics, of course, have a point as some businesses squeeze employees on wages, suppliers on payments, local communities on planning, and government when it comes to paying their fair share of tax.

They also suggest there is a lack of trust and transparency between big businesses and their customers, their communities and even their employees.

There is no doubt that businesses have their faults and should be held to account but the criticism should be measured against the good that is done by the majority.

Small business

But not all businesses are the same and while anger is often directed against big businesses people tend to have a fondness for small businesses, particularly ones run by local entrepreneurs.

Small businesses are an essential part of the community in towns and cities all around the world, as they employ local people, provide local services and create local opportunities.

And it is business and particularly small businesses that create the jobs we need to recover from the financial crash and the suffering caused by the recession and lingering austerity measures.

Business leaders

Business leaders tend not to argue too strenuously against the critics, as they see their job as getting on with the business of doing business.

Business leaders, however, need to articulate their message more clearly; so greater numbers of people understand the contribution they make to society.

They also need to link their enterprising ability to create wealth with the good such wealth does in supporting and enabling a functioning society.

SO, business and business leaders should highlight the role they play in society, not least as a way to explain their immense contribution to local communities.