Understand capitalism. You need to understand that it is in your best interest to have the people you work for make as much money as possible. Even if you can’t stand your boss it is in your best interest to make him as much money as you can. Most of us aren’t self-employed and spend a lot of time complaining about the company we work for despite the fact that they are providing us with a source of income.
Even if you work at a major publicly traded company it was probably started by just a few people or a family, and most likely not even in the state you work in. You need to remember that when the company was started the owners weren’t thinking about you. They were thinking about themselves. Your employment is a byproduct of their hard work, ambition, and skill, and even some luck thrown in. Even though it is their company, and you work for them, you are a free man and if you are unhappy and disgruntled then you need to be a man and find a better job or make your own. Otherwise shut the hell up and get to work.
Your job as an employee is to do more in worth to the company than what you are paid for. Please read the previous sentence again until you comprehend it. If you didn’t do more in worth than what you are paid for then you are a drag on the company and are taking away from the bottom line and you or your job needs to be cut because you are a detriment to the other workers. When you work for others it isn’t about you. It is about the company. The world doesn’t owe you anything.
If you’re interpreting the previous paragraphs as you just go to work and keep your mouth shut and be thankful that is not the case. You are never to be the little sheep that just follows along to the slaughter. You should be passionate about your work and the company you work for. You need to be vocal at work when something is wrong, you need to look for new ways to get work done more efficiently, and you even need to look for way to do more with less because you have a vested interest in the success. That interest is called a paycheck. That paycheck is your part in helping that company make more profits. With that profit the company will possibly grow creating opportunities for advancement or partial ownership through stocks or at the very least your continued employment.
Over the last one-hundred years Americans have drifted away being self-reliant individuals to a more collective society that believes jobs, benefits, and their paychecks are owed to them just because they live and breath. The Americans that still have that self-reliant attitude are the ones that rise above the pack and go on to get more and as a result create more for others – even when they work for someone else. Self-reliant doesn’t even mean having your own business.
You can be independent and work for someone else. I would argue that the individuals who aren’t afraid to challenge the norm and are willing to stick their necks out are the ones that move up in their positions. I don’t mean the kiss-ass that moves up to first or even second level manager I mean the true performers and innovators in the organization. Being a smooth talker can move you up but that will only take you so far. Eventually people are going to want to see results. If your company, location, or branch only values the smooth talkers and the culture there isn’t going to change anytime soon it is time to look for another job.
The bottom line is the bottom line when it comes to business. You must always be ethical and you should never sell your soul or devote so much time that it destroys your family but capitalism is the equivalent of survival of the fittest. If you work in the private sector and you’re just hanging back taking it easy it will come back to bite you.
How capitalism works. First off capitalism is not a system. Capitalism is what happens when governments and other people get out of the way of free people. Whether it is multinational corporations or kids on the playground trading cards the fundamentals are the same. Someone wants/needs something and someone else has it and the way to get it is to give that person something of value for it.
Some key points about capitalism are as follows.
Without freedom you don’t have true capitalism. To restrict trade of goods is restricting freedom of the citizens. Some restrictions are part of living in a moral society – any rational person wouldn’t want child-porn legalized. But when governments start telling restaurants what kind of oil to use or what they should invest their profits into they’re restricting freedom. No freedom = no capitalism or vice versa. Remember that the next time politicians talk about restricting trade.
When someone profits, both parties win. You need something, someone has it, you exchange money (or services), they get money and you get the whatever it was you wanted. Some people mistakenly believe that there are winners and losers when money and goods are exchanged but that is not the case in ethical transactions. You got the product; the seller got money, and even the government got a cut. Sure we would all like to pay less for an item but if you bought it you must have wanted it bad enough, so stop complaining and be thankful you could afford it. Even if you’re buying food or heat for your home although these items may be necessities they aren’t rights. You aren’t owed food and heat just because you have a Social Security number. No able bodied person has a right to a lifetime of goods and services. Carry your own weight, cover the ground you walk on, and make the money needed to buy the basics. Overtime you’ll be able to buy more than just those basics if you work hard enough.
There is no such thing as price gouging. Despite Bill O’Reilly whining about the folks being gouged anytime there is a natural disaster there is no such thing as price gouging. Let me repeat. There is no such thing as price gouging. Even during a natural disaster. If there is a disaster supplies to that business are going to be limited so running out product is going to leave that store owner with emty shelves.
Knowing that a hurricane is coming people are going to stock up creating a higher demand so there is absolutely nothing wrong with a store raising its’ prices. In fact, it is better for everyone involved because what will happen is a natural rationing due to the higher price. If the price isn’t raised then it becomes a matter of whoever gets to the store first can buy up all the needed items leaving others to then go without. For example if there is a tornado and there is a lot of destruction and power lines are down and natural gas lines off but the stores are still standing there will be a rush to get to the stores and buy candles, fresh water, etc. The owners of the store should be allowed to raise their price to whatever the market allows. If they want to charge $10 for a gallon of gas they should be allowed to and this will be good for everyone in that community. By having gas be $10 a gallon it prevents the first people in the store from buying it all up giving others the opportunity to get to the store and get some. Being forced to not raise the price to a level that is appropriate for the market conditions creates a scenario where people with trucks and huge barrels in the back can buy up all the gas. Hotels are allowed to raise their rates during busy seasons, fresh food cost more out of season, and basics should cost more in times of crises and there is nothing wrong with this. When the shit hits the fan people don’t care about buying MP3 players and Air Jordans and will pay what it takes to get what they need. This is a tough concept to grasp when first presented and honestly is a topic for a whole different book but it is something that you will need to understand and accept. For further understanding of this concept I recommend looking up Milton Friedman and/or Thomas Sowell for a better understanding.
Capitalism improves lives. Not that long ago in human history lack of food was a constant struggle. Except where there are corrupt governments there is an abundance of food produced for everyone.
The reason there is so much of a food supply is because farmers and ranchers looked for way to produce more to make more money. Improvements in production give the farmer the ability to turn out even more with the same amount of resources and more profit. Eventually their competition catch up and as more and more food is brought to the market place the price drops. With the new lower price this gives the consumers more money to spend on items beside food, which now creates demand in other areas.
Whether it is fresh meat, refrigerators, or computers; someone found a way to improve something, or invent something, and made money from it often becoming extremely wealthy but soon after others followed suit hoping to become wealthy as well and all the while society as a whole kept improving along with the standards of living.
Capitalism has been so successful that in America most people can’t imagine not having a computer and the internet when not that long ago only universities and large companies could have computers. And those weren’t even as powerful as an average computer today.
Advancements won’t stop as long as people and businesses are free to pursue profits. Medical companies should be allowed to profit from the illnesses they can cure or make less painful. Because when they aren’t they aren’t they will stop investing for cures and people will suffer as a result. Only politicians and lawyers demonizing the health industries win that instance. Our lives have been lengthened and made more enjoyable by allowing people to pursue profits.
Dealing with people that don’t understand capitalism. There is a myth out there that everyone in business is automatically a capitalist. This is false. Despite the fact that capitalism has done more to elevate the human race than any other economic or political system there are many business–men that depend on the government for their lively hood and competitive edge. Getting a competitive edge is very hard to do, which is why so many businesses turn to the government. There are civil service workers who probably run their departments more like a business than some businesses do. They watch expenses, only hire the staff they need not the staff they want, and they hire the best people possible. Being a capitalist in your approach will help you succeed in almost everything you do in work no matter the type of organization even if you’re a government employee.
There will be people you work with that don’t understand capitalism or believe it is bad. They believe that pensions, health care, free turkeys, and plenty of paid sick days should be the norm and that the company can easily absorb the costs. More to truth is those people just want the company to take of their problems because it’s easier than taking care of it themselves. Employees like this can be difficult and costly. This doesn’t automatically make them bad employees, or people, but their entitlement attitude can spread throughout the workplace.
It only takes one person always bitching and moaning about how they are getting screwed by management to spread a negative attitude with the rest of the crew. If you have an employee(s) like this they’re only worth saving if they’re productive and contribute to the team with their talent. If they’re unproductive, or don’t bring anything special that someone else couldn’t bring after being trained, you need to deal with them appropriately. This means getting their level of work raised or get them out the door and get someone else in who is willing to do the job.
To help people understand capitalism you need to tie what they do to the business. When you talk about your company’s product talk don’t make it an abstract entity that is just numbers and percentages. Remind employees that without customers that their hours, and even their jobs, may need to be cut. Educate your team on the business as much as possible and appropriate. Share with them changes being made or changes in company goals and always stress the importance of the company being competitive. Not just keeping up with the competition but staying a step ahead. When a competitor sets up shop in your area talk about it and let them know there maybe an impact but also let them know what you are doing about it. After all if you are management you should be doing something about it. Ask any local business owner about the effects of a Starbucks or Wal-Mart moving into the area.
Having trade journals or business magazines readily available for people to read on breaks can help turn a boring break into a slow indoctrination into the positive world of self-reliance. If you work in a small business a couple magazines or subscription to the Wall Street Journal are perfect; you can read them first then let the others enjoy them.
If your company has the resources to provide 401Ks or pensions take a few minutes in an employee meeting to discuss the value of investing and taking charge of their own retirement. You will have better results with a lot of little communications than a big one. A few minutes here and there about the importance of saving for the future will mean more then one big training session.
Ultimately the best way to teach capitalism is to live it. Never use up a budget just because you’re worried you won’t get it next year if you don’t use it. Don’t hire people for any other reason then they are the most qualified. And always look for ways you can make the company more profitable and yourself and in turn everyone will benefit.