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Adam Smith, Smart Dude

September 17, 2009

Came across this quote from the father of capitalism himself, Adam Smith, today:

“Businesses exist to serve the general welfare. Profit is the means, not the end. It is the reward a business receives for serving the general welfare. When a business fails to serve the general welfare, it forfeits its right to exist.”

Something to chew on. Something, perhaps, that we’ve lost sight of. Profit is the means. It is the motivator to create a business and do the work. That self-interest is at the heart of capitalism. But the conscience, the societal duty that balances that self-interest (and that one would think obvious to nurture the long-term health of a company) seems so frequently missing.

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