Not Overly Amused

As I was reading a post from the Market Power blog entitled "Good Things", I felt that the author seemed somewhat sinical. Apparently he has nothing better to do than to rag on the media for reporting on altruistic acts. He seemed to feel like the media should sing praises to businesses that provide society services for a profit. While it is true that businesses do provide products and services that consumers want and need, I wouldn't categorize that type of "service" the same as that of volunteers preparing meals for the homeless, w/o pay. Volunteers add value to society, even though they aren't making revenue that will be taxed, and then fed back into the government. Instead they choose to selflessly give of themselves, providing to society at no charge, ultimately saving money that perhaps the government would have had to shell out anyway. Can't this guy see the merit in philanthropy in some form other than business related product and service offerings that exist because of the profit they make?


parker said...

I remember the first economics class I took and the shock I received when the professor discussed the value that someone like Bill Gates of Microsoft brings to the world and just how much more far reaching his efforts in business are in comparison to Mother Teresa and her acts of service. My initial reaction was one of shock and disgust. However, I must admit that the more the professor elaborated on the far reaching and multiplying effects of the business and employment which Bill Gates provides, the more I found myself beginning to see things in a new light. By no means am I trying to discredit the value of selfless service because without it the world would be a much worse place. Nor am I trying to place Bill Gates above Mother Teresa in value as a person. Nevertheless, the more I think of what impact I might have for good upon the world, the more I feel that my potential for having the longest lasting results will be not only through service but primarily through business and in following the ideas of Milton Friedman of profit maximization.

parker said...
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Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Blake's post for a spelling error (the link is generic too - here's one that works.

Not surprisingly, I disagree. I don't think the author was that harsh. In particular, he was grousing about why there are not headlines like:

* Local HyVee Serves Thousands of Diverse Customers
* Local Restaurant Cooks up Meals and Brings Big Bucks
* Local Convenience Store Serves Those in a Rush
* New Grocer Takes Risk and Enters Market

I'm not sure where I see volunteerism being knocked when someone is discussing the lack of credit that others get.