Profit is a Killer

Like all addictions profit can become an obsession that eventually destroys. In the case of large companies it becomes increasingly difficult to continue the growth of profits demanded by shareholders and stock markets without abuse occurring, no matter how well established the organisation.

This was evident with Enron some years ago where the manipulation of statistics over a number of years, not company performance, maintained its published profit growth. The net result of this deception was the eventual bankruptcy of this vast company, the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the dissolution of its complicit accounting advisers Arthur Andersen, one of the then largest accounting consultancies in the world . . . death by deception!

If profit is buying cheaply and selling at a higher price then it doesn’t get much easier than taking the natural resources our Planet has to offer freely and selling them on. This abuse becomes unacceptable however when stock market and shareholder greed fuels over fishing of our oceans and devastation of our forests, instead of sustainable farming. We are even further abusing Nature for profit with bio genetics and will no experience the horrors this activity will reward us with in the years to come . . . death by stealth!

There comes a time in the profit cycle when increasing market share and sales volume becomes more difficult, and it is then that serious danger can manifest, as running costs are reviewed to maintain profits and counter this levelling of sales and markets.

I am not suggesting for one minute that companies set out to knowingly create life threatening situations but these can occur when issues of regular maintenance are seen as an expense rather than a necessity. And when this happens in global corporations, where the stress of maintaining profit growth and market expansion is high on the agenda mistakes become disastrous, as in the case of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here the damage to the sea life and underwater terrain, with its subsequent effect upon the livelihoods of local industry, has yet to be fully understood but is continuing to have horrendous repercussions as its effect permeates across the oceans . . . death supported by Natural forces!

If we move nearer to home we can find the privatisation of social services such as healthcare, transport and mail delivery has turned them into profit centres. The original ‘service’ to Society has been replaced by an emphasis on profit. If there are areas of these services that are not profitable they are discontinued or reduced to a level that makes them ineffective but no longer loss making, that cost being born by Society in the reduction of the original services. We have seen this social abuse in healthcare where efforts to cut costs have resulted in increases in patient deaths and infection whilst in care . . . death by stalking!

Of all our endeavours to generate profit, warfare provides the most lucrative. Not only do we profit from the vast production of armaments but also the rebuilding of the environments and countries that those armaments have devastated! Sadly this endless circle of death by profit has been going on for millennia . . . death by circulation!

Put simply, when you decide profit is the primary goal you are undertaking to override integrity and moral welfare as the examples here illustrate. There are many considerations to how we interact with each other and this beautiful Planet which can never be conducted safely within narrow or single minded beliefs. We have killed enough of our species over the millennia through single minded beliefs about religion, adding dominance of profit to this already lethal cocktail can only accelerate our demise . . . Profit is a killer!