When people assert that they are pro-business we really don’t know what they mean. It all depends upon what they believe the purpose of business is. Is it to maximize profit for its owners? Is it to provide its executives with as much material gain as possible? Is it to provide people with quality goods and services?
If we look to what’s practiced as a means of determining which of the above applies we find examples that fit each. That said we also find that the most prevalent is maximizing material gain for executives, particularly in publically traded corporations. This is evidenced by the tremendous growth in the gap between what the average worker earns and what the top executives of organizations are paid—it’s multiples of a hundred times more—irrespective of the organization’s market performance. Demand for the organization’s products and services could fall but the compensation of its’ executives climb.
It is not that they are for business as much as they are for what allows them to gain as much as they can in the short term. Likely, if something other than business afforded them the same material gain then they’d be for that instead. Business is just the instrument it is not the focus of their favor, personal gain is.
So supporting the common pro-business cry may not really be support for the wellbeing of society and its businesses at all. Rather it is enabling those in authority of businesses to extract whatever they can from whomever they can and as quickly as they can in order to increase their personal gain, even though business is not a private affair.
However, if the purpose of business is to provide quality to society in general, and to people in particular, then being pro-business means advocating for enabling the flow of the human spirit and the emergence of potential through the conduct of business with a different aim. This requires taking the long view as well as thinking in terms of (living) systems. In this way it is not business versus society but business for society. It means pursuing progress for the benefit of everyone and in more ways than just materially.
Aren’t we all here for the long term? Shouldn’t we (all) be proponents of this different way of business?