Commercial activities that provide goods and services

Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors".

  • Corporatism - Socio-economic system in which large businesses exert influence over and benefit from government policies
  • Deregulation - Elimination of laws and rules imposed on an industry
  • Electric Power - The production and distribution of electricity
  • Entrepreneurs - Individuals who organize and assume the risks of a business
  • Entrepreneurship - Managerial skills and willingness to take risks in the production of goods and services
  • Farming - The business of agriculture
  • Mining - The business of extracting ores or metals
  • Transportation - The means and equipment used for the movement of passengers and goods

Articles

A Tribute to John T. Flynn, by Adam Young, 31 Jan 2003
Biographical overview followed by quotes from Flynn's writings on FDR, Roosevelt's monument, the New Deal and the Roosevelt myth
"The word 'business' is well understood by our people. It refers to that collection of great and small enterprises which produce goods and services for the population. It does two things. It produces our food, our clothes, our luxuries and necessities; it provides, also, the jobs by which the people earn the income with which they can purchase these things. As Roosevelt came into power one might have supposed that business was some gigantic criminal conspiracy against the welfare of the nation. He began with a sweeping attack upon business and he kept it up until the war."
Bourgeois Virtues?, by Deirdre McCloskey, Cato Policy Report, May 2006
Offers an apologia (formal defense) of capitalism, in particular of the phrase "bourgeois virtues" as being neither a contradiction in terms nor a lie
"A fourth [virtue] is the Courage to venture on new ways of business. But it is also the courage to overcome the fear of change, to bear defeat unto bankruptcy, to be courteous to new ideas, to wake up next morning and face fresh work with cheer, resisting the despairing pessimism of the clerisy from 1848 to the present. ... Another is the Faith to honor one's community of business. But it is also the faith ... to sustain traditions of commerce ... Another is the Hope to imagine a better machine."
Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 6 Oct 2006
Comments on the September 2006 North American E. coli outbreak in spinach
"The story might have ended there, as the groceries isolated the source of the problem and the baggers turned their attention to the farmers and the farmers looked more carefully into the irrigation and fertilizer sources and otherwise sought to fix the problem. And why wouldn't they? They are all in business to make money. You can only make money by selling things that people want, and this much is absolutely certain: people don't want spinach that makes them sick."
Free Markets Aren't Conservative, by Sheldon Richman, Nov 2001
Explains why businesses, especially the larger and well established ones, favor business regulations and taxes
"Businessmen, going back at least to the era of mercantilism 400 years ago, have typically embraced government as an effective tool to protect themselves from competitors. ... Taxes that make it difficult to accumulate capital to expand or set up businesses clearly favor established business leaders even if they have to pay the same taxes. The same is true for regulations. Older and bigger firms can more easily contend with such burdens than newer, smaller ones can."
Government in Business, by Murray Rothbard, The Freeman, Sep 1956
Contrasts characteristics of government-run enterprises with those of privately operated businesses and counters the argument of running government "like a business"
"Have you ever heard of a private firm proposing to 'solve' a shortage of the product it sells by telling people to buy less? Certainly not. Private firms welcome customers, and expand when their product is in heavy demand thus servicing and benefiting their customers as well as themselves."
Related Topic: Government
Monopolies versus the Free Market, Part 1, by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom, Sep 2006
Contrasts state-backed monopolies or quasi-monopolies vs. regular businesses in a free market, with historical and current examples, and discusses antitrust laws
"By contrast, businesses that achieve total — or almost total — market share of what they produce are not protected from competition by laws. Such businesses depend entirely on customer satisfaction that comes from the business's successfully fulfilling the wants of consumers. Such success is often short-lived. Despite the temporary strength of a successful business, it cannot force people to accept its products."
Objectivist Ethics in the Information-Age Economy, by Nathaniel Branden, Navigator, Feb 2001
After reviewing human progress, from hunter to farmer to laborer to thinker, argues that what he calls "Objectivist ethics" are more relevant to current society
"A modern business can no longer be run by a few people who think and many people who merely do what they are told—the traditional, military, command-and-control model. Today, organizations require not only a higher level of knowledge and skill among all those who participate in the process of production, but also a higher level of independence, self-reliance, self-trust, and initiative. In a word, self-esteem. This means that in the process of wealth-production, people with a decent level of self-esteem, who embody key Objectivist virtues (at least while on the job), are now needed in large numbers."
Ports and Political Hypocrisy, by Xon Hostetter, 25 Feb 2006
Discusses the controversy over the pending acquisition of six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World (now DP World) as part of their purchase of the British firm P&0 (Note: the transaction was later blocked by the U.S. Congress and DP sold them to AIG)
"A company that runs ports for profit is not the same as a mish-mash of international travellers coming through an airport for a variety of different reasons. ... we have a very good idea as to why Dubai Ports company wants to run these six ports — it thinks it can make money doing so! As said before, companies have every interest in protecting their investments, and they do this most obviously by turning a profit."
Related Topics: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Talkers versus doers, Part II, by Thomas Sowell, 10 Jun 2004
Explains how those who criticize businesses and entrepreneurs obtain an advantage over the "doers" and how that even affects corporate contributions to the critics' causes
"These kinds of incentives and constraints help explain a strange anomaly that many have noticed — big corporations contributing much more to left-wing causes than to conservative or libertarian causes. 'For every $1.00 major corporations gave to conservative and free-market groups, they gave $4.61 to organizations seeking more government,' according to a study ... Why? ...: 'Many advocacy groups win corporate funding by threatening lawsuits and boycotts and by petitioning government regulatory bodies. Regulatory policies, in particular, give corporations a built-in incentive to pay-off left-wing activists.'"
Related Topic: Health
UpdThe Businessman and the Defense of Capitalism, by Benjamin A. Rogge, Can Capitalism Survive?, 1979
Chapter 1 of Part IX, "an explicit follow-up to the Schumpeter-based 'Can Capitalism Survive?'" (the lead essay in this volume); offers business leaders suggestions as to what to do and not to do in helping "the cause of freedom"
"To begin with, the businessman is not typically hired by the stockholders to carry on programs of social reforms; he is hired to add to the net worth of the company. ... The fact is that there is hardly a businessman in this country who is not receiving favors from government in one way or another. ... In other words, his very position may seem to require of the businessman that, in the struggle against government intervention, he be as often a part of the problem as of the solution."
UpdThe Doomslayer, by Ed Regis, Wired, Feb 1997
Lengthy essay about Simon, his research and writings, as well as critical views on his positions
"He was not one of those MBAs whose closest contact with the gritty business world was going down to the corner newsstand to purchase a copy of The Wall Street Journal. The year he got his doctorate he started and operated his own business, a mail-order firm that sold quality teas, coffees, and a book on how to make beer at home. The enterprise was successful enough, but not so much as the book he later wrote about it, How to Start and Operate a Mail-Order Business (McGraw-Hill, 1965), still in print and currently in its fifth edition."
The Federal Ripoff, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
Review of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money by Timothy P. Carney
"Today, nearly every business, either on its own or through a trade association, employs lobbyists who try to steer government policy in a 'favorable' direction. Sometimes, the political game is played defensively ... Often, however, businesses seek to use governmental power to raise prices, stifle competition, and obtain inputs it needs at artificially low prices."
The Snare of Government Subsidies, by Gary North, Mises Daily, 31 Aug 2006
Explains how government starts by granting a benefit to some group (purportedly for the public interest), someone takes advantage of the system, the group is asked to police itself, cheating grows, a crisis is perceived, leading to increased interventions
"It would help if businessmen understood the chain of events which follows from the acceptance of a government subsidy. ... The problem ... is that businessmen like the seeming safety of a government-restricted market, at least in the early stages, when they are given some power to set standards and direct production. ... Businessmen think they can find an escape in some sort of government business partnership. That is the grand illusion."
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
"The most important thing I learned about business in my first year was that business wasn't based on exploitation or coercion at all. Instead I realized that business is based on voluntary cooperation. No one is forced to trade with a business; customers have competitive alternatives in the market place; employees have competitive alternatives for their labor; investors have different alternatives and places to invest their capital."

Books

A Primer on Business Ethics
    by Tibor Machan, 2003
Related Topic: Ethics

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Business" as of 19 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.