Warfare and business is not the same

It is unfortunately that business has seen a parallel with warfare. It makes good reading and seems compelling to relate books like Suntzu etc to apply to Busimess. However there is a disconnect here. War is a matter of life and death. It is where you have to kill or be killed. But it is not the same. There is no way in business that you can commit murder physically in business and get away with it.
I’m writing this to try to get it across that business and warfare are not exactly the same. When you treat it the same, you are committing a grave error.

 If you look at the text of Suntze or or Clauswitz, re warfare and apply it to business, you are committing a grave error. Even if you look at Suntze, he advocated the idea of a righteous war. 

Which part of business is righteous?

That in itself tell us a lot. Do you mean that the maximizing of profits at all cost is righteous?

You can, and do, in many cases, attempt to come up with some statement on the righteousness of your corporation trying to “kill” the competition. How much water does that hold?

Only with your sales staff. But after all that’s said and done, how much is that effective as far as the general public is concerned? 

To make it effective, your message has to vilify the competition. And that’s being done. Like, for example, the “evil Chinese who make fake eggs and disrespect copyright”. But looking at history, again it holds little water. The Chinese invented paper, the compass, Etc. So, is it “wrong” to make use of these things without paying some sort of royalty as rights to use the ideas? It then boils down to whosoever had “registered” the patent in the first place. 

Is the first registration then the morally right way determine ownership? Like the attempt to register the patent for Patna Rice, something the Indian people have been using for ages?
Back to my argument re warfare and business. 

It is a grave error in application, to use war as the model for business. It is not the same. Trying to make it the same has been the cause of many of the problems we are seeing in the world, where big corporations are literally killing the competition, big and small.
I’m not advocating some sort of utopia, where there’s peace on earth and goodwill to men, without any conflict. What I’m advocating is that there’s some recognition of the fact that there is competition. And that a planned economy ala the old Soviet System does not work. 

I am not of the calibre, but someone out there is. To come up with a manifesto(?) of,what works in a free economy that is not based on pure dog eat dog. Dog eat dog works only if the dogs are of the same size and power. That’s not what we are seeing today. The danger is the big dogs will kill all the small dogs, and then set upon each other. That’s not good for the rest of us.


This has been posted on Simonseow.com blog on 18 oct2015.

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About Ed Simon

This is my user name as Editor of this blog. Some site visitors may already be acquainted with the different areas of my interest. I am uncertain how I should classify myself. I have lived studied and worked in Malaysia and in the UK for long periods. I have also travelled to many other countries for both work, pleasure, and just "wandering". I leave the postings to tell about my areas of work and interest, so as not to bore you with a lengthy (and probably embellished :-) recount of my triumphs and tribulations.

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