On ambivalence and hope (in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research)
“How to Live Before You Die”

Web Link for Young Entrepreneurs

Jonathan B. Wight

Do you know a young person who wants to start a business?

Here's a web link of "Teen Merchant and Entrepreneur Resources" that has lesson plans for both students and teachers (thanks to Mrs. Elizabeth Owens of the Pine Mountain Central School District).

One of the games highlighted is a PBS website "Build a Socially Conscious Business" which celebrates "the New Heroes." These heroes are not politicians and "Their 'arsenals' are not of weaponry, but of creative ideas, dogged determination and a deep belief in their power to change the world"—in other words, entrepreneurs.

A few thoughts: a business does not have to be "socially conscious" to do lots of good in the world. Running a business with the motive of making money is entirely ethical, provided one adheres to Milton Friedman's famous dictum to obey all laws, both legal and those embedded in moral norms. [For a friendly critique of Friedman's view that only making money for shareholders ought to be the goal of business, see my article "The Ethical Lacunae in Friedman's Concept of the Manager, Journal of Markets & Morality 11(2) (2008):221-238, with Martin Calkins].

I think the 21st century is the epoch of socially-conscious business for two reasons. First, because genuine caring for others (as opposed to 'enlightened self interest' caring) is a stronger motivator, and leaders that genuinely care will attract better employees, suppliers, and customers. And second, because young people are avidly searching for meaning in their lives. Earning a profit in a competitive world means you are serving others well. Creating a business that not only makes money but also provides a sense of purpose is a double-whammy.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)