We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"...She wanted to know if I thought the soft values should count, meaning, the virtue of keeping 100 families happy and intact or should you just go for the jugular and maximize profits.
I gave her a few answers. One of them was one that I give in my book, The Invisible Heart. It's OK to be charitable with your own money. It's not so virtuous to be generous with other people's money. A publicly traded business should maximize profits and let shareholders be charitable with those returns if they so choose. I also gave the other answer I gave in the book—that there is no such thing as "enough" profit. The world is highly uncertain and sacrificing profits in the name of "soft values" may end up destroying the company and putting everyone out of work."
So why not just bring back the galley slave? Since when does providing a reasonable wage, a measure of job security, and adequate health benefits to your work force seem an extravagant luxury that forces your shareholders to ration hunting trips by corporate jet fuel?! Actually, people took better care of their slaves than the indentured servants most American workers are rapidly evolving into....
Corporate America seems to have forgotten that its most valuable resource is a loyal and motivated workforce. You can't hope to receive loyal service without giving something.
My dad (a Colonel Blimp politically--would fit in right here at Maggie's Farm) opened numerous branches of his company all over the world and the single factor that contributed the most to his success was his commitment to his workers, to training them, sustaining them thru family tragedies, disciplining the troublesome ones, involving them in decision-making. He battled with them, but he never exploited them, and he never laid them off to make his business look lean and appealing to some asshole raider. When one branch did poorly, he'd find work for the displaced workers in another, or help find a job somewhere else if they couldn't move.
The point is, treat your workers well and they will make you money. His did.
Aaargh! Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Also, careful with the Delphic remarks (occupational hazard).
I get on my soap box because the tone here on Maggie's Farm is so excessively pro-shareholders and devil-take-the workforce. In real life, I am far more moderate. I think John Donne put it better and far more briefly than I ever can:
No man is an island (sic?)
When we exploit someone, we do not only hurt them, we damage our own immortal soul. That should be enough to make us try to be good, out of mere self-interest. But wait, there's more: when Jesus comes again he will take us to task for how we managed our companies, our decency towards our cleaning lady, our fondness for wonderful gas guzzling SUVs, etc. Capitalist pirates beware--you will be in the cells of hell with Russian mobsters and the Al Sharptons on this world.