Essay on The Public Of Consumers And Consumers

Essay on The Public Of Consumers And Consumers

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Some of the world’s largest businesses are committing corrupt and unethical practices right now. Reports of such practices may surface in five days, five months, five years, or never at all. When one of these reports is publicly released, the public of consumers and customers often expresses outrage. Politicians call for increased or decreased regulation in the sector of the offender. The media scolds the offenders with brutal, relentless coverage of their crimes. Then, the offender inevitably steps forward, admits their guilt, accepts their punishment, and trots back to business. However, the consumer base often forgives easily and forgets quickly since “justice has been served.” This consumer forgiveness (or forgetfulness) allows the same offenders to continue fraudulent and corrupt practices in the name of profit, at least until they get caught again. The latest report of large-scale fraud is attributed to Wells Fargo. And so far, this case seems to follow the same trend seen in cases involving Volkswagen, Fifa, Mylan, and Turing Pharmaceuticals. This phenomenon is not new, as shown by Thorstein Veblen’s early 20th century works.
In Veblen’s view, businesses serve for little purpose other than making profit. “The motive of business is pecuniary gain, the method is essentially purchase and sale. The aim and usual outcome is an accumulation of wealth. Men whose aim is not increase of possessions do not go into business…” (Veblen 7). According to Veblen, the pecuniary goals of a business become more intense as said business grows in size. These aims then abate the entire ethical bearing of a business to the point where it is “a matter of indifference to [the businessman] whether his traffic affects the system advantageously or ...


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...e he knows that he is playing the system. He is taking some of the blame. He may promise to overhaul Wells Fargo’s ethical statutes. Regulations may be pushed to attempt to stop similar incidents. Fines will be paid, more employees may be fired. Sales may decrease, and their reputation may be momentarily tainted. Ultimately though, little damage will be done to the most important aspect of Wells Fargo: their profitability. All of the acts of forgiveness and “justice” are merely trivial, and are done so that Wells Fargo can persist indefinitely into the future, and continue their endeavors towards profit at an ever-accelerating pace.
Veblen’s prophecy is that devastation occurs when profit-hungry corporations’ disregard the world around them. And until these businesses become satiated, the prophecy will continue to come true, day after month after year after century.

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