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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Profitable Motivation

What is profit? Simple definitions need not apply, as in its most fundamental usage today ‘profit’ is simply about motivation. Profit, is the gain of doing something. It is mostly used in financial or business terms today, and is resoundingly the first thing talked about in the business world – maximizing corporate profits to increase shareholder value and the incentive to invest in a company. But within that motivation is something more, this ‘profit’ is actually taking the focus away from the product, and putting it on the outcome of the exchange of the product. This extra incentive for investors actually adds another outlay into the end cost of a good to the consumer. Yes of course this could be said in some ways to make the entire production process more efficient, in terms of capital usage and access to efficient financial investment, but on the whole, that is again about finding stimulation for investment – i.e. motivation. In turn, ‘profit’, or the reward of investing in something, is simply a/the motivational factor to partake in it. But this ‘incentive’ requires the generation and distribution of a ‘return’ which then actually increases the amount of the good at sale.

Today’s businesses are primed firstly with maximizing profit and providing a service only so well as that it provides the greatest profit for investors/owners. The product is not the prime goal, it is the money made from the product. And in turn, this type of motivational factor increases the cost to the consumer, while not providing the greatest level of service. Of course capitalist competition keeps costs down, but what if these products could be generated at a higher quality and sold without the need to generate any profit? Relatively cheaper consumer goods, which are wholly focused on the consumer’s usage, would of course be the outcome.

This post is however not about finding ways to decrease prices or increase product quality in the current world we live in, but of course to try to generate discussion about alternative ideas/systems moving forward. So in essence, this post is about motivation within the current system. If money/profit is the most prevalent institutionalized motivational factor – yet it comes at a cost to efficiency, a cost in the level of service, and in its social outcome, then why are we not seeking an alternative motivational factor for investment? If profit is what makes people invest in business – yet it decreases service level – then why don’t we look for a motivational factor that puts the service provided first?

Obviously, the average person reading this is thinking wholly within their most probably capitalist upbringing and claiming impossibility, etc. etc. etc. But think about it logically, motivation is motivation. It does not matter what form it comes in – money, emotions, compassion, coercion, etc. – the outcomes are the same: something gets done. In tribal systems social stature was a huge motivational factor, in communist social scenarios the ‘employee of the month’ concept could be the most resounding force in motivation at work, feeding one’s family, gaining the acceptance of one’s self by another, etc. Power, ability, money, kindness, these are all motivational tools. So how is it then that we can create a new system where we have a ‘desirable motivational force’ that does not adversely affect consumers, society, interests in investment, etc? What could motivate you? But not the ‘you’ that you are today – produced within the confines of the social reality only seen today – but the ‘you’ that you would like to be in the society that ‘you’ would like to live in yet prior to today may not have existed outside your subconscious?

Who do you want to be? I.e. what do you want to be your motivation?

1 comment:

  1. There are in general two kinds of motivations: intrinsic and extrinsic. Th first one occurs when people do sth because it brings them pleasure and the second one occurs when people do sth because society expect them to do so. The question why the profit is more important than a consumer is simply because: if individual is working for company s/he is primary expose to extrinsic motivation. Person has to work to get the money and s/he obeys whatever company says. The money is usualy the tool to fulfil the intrinsic needs for all people involved in that action.

    The capitalists are playing a big money game to fulfil their needs. They force people to spend more and more money and people have to work more to get that money. Indeed they are spending to much... and they have to work to much... at some point people reach the limit.. some of them fail, some of them work harder.. to what cost? are they really happy? They should realize that this simply doesn't work. (I won't even speak about other things that appear as the effect of this cycle)

    The primary goal should be sth else. In my opinion everyone should have the same amount of goods provided by the government. Motivation should not be a competition, but fulfiling desires... not in order to survive, but to express what you want to do. Maybe this seems to be impossible, but if money wis disposed equaly all around the world.. to each individual, to each country...people wouldn't have to worry about it. Peace and creating the character that is not full of hate, possessivness and agression seems to be the only way, but it should be changed in all areas of our lives. The goal is therefore fulfilment of an individual in order to improve society as a whole.


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