Business is more like War than a bed of gladioloas!

Chas. A. Barclay (
Fri, 30 Dec 1994 11:11:06 -1000

Animals and the environment exist based on survival issues.
Fortunately, most animals lack reason, certainly nature does. That's
why humans dominate them. Both animals and nature lack rational
problem solving, planning, and acting in a humane manner. Ever watch
a group of male dolphins herd a single female for copulation? Its
no prettier than the human version. And they don't care if she's
fertile, with child, sick, or hot for action. Animals are no more
pristine than humans and therefore are undeserving of your

War encompasses much Darwinian theory. The strongest, canniest, best
prepared, and luckiest, survive--propagating that community rather
than species. There are no winners if conflict results in battle. It
is the acme of skill to win without fighting. When armed conflict
results, invariably the people lose out compared to a peaceful
solution. This is a powerful metaphor for business and why gentle
budo's like jujitsu and aikido are effective--little damage is done
to subdue the aggresive party. In business there is similarity.

The environmental metaphor is worse than the business metaphor. As
you discuss species and individuals and natural forces' reactions on
it, the war discusses the actions of communities, states, nations,
and perhaps worlds or solar systems in opposition to many natural
forces. It is bent to the will of man.

Business need not be war, but I like it that way. As long as folks
like me run businesses and teach corporate strategy to eager students
wanting to leave their mark onthe world, those of you who ignore us
will be toast.

Competition is more efficient than developing the bureaucracy
required for cooperation. Socialists didn't learn this until the
1980's. All the excesses of capitalism and predation do not exceed
the inefficiencies of economic mutualism. None other than Albert
Einstein observed that the competitive nature was more powerful than
the desire to do good for the state or community.

Occaisionally, we can put aside our natural inclination for a time
and work for the common good....just don't expect it to happen for
extended periods. Afterall a 2 year stint in the Peace Corps will do
you spirit a world of good, but a 40 year stint means extended poverty
and the likelihood that you will not propagate your thread of genetic

The problem with the business is war metaphor is this: the populace
wins when business's go to war with each other intheform of lower
prices, enhanced distribution, and increased product development. In
war, the populace suffers whether in terms of villages getting
napalmed or inflation resulting from spending on guns & napalm than on
infrastructure or in not taking the taxes from the citizenry.

War between countries is horrible, war between business is sublime,
other than that I :-) the metaphor.

Its time to stop looking at the world as your mother and view it as a
planet. Eliminate the new-age mumbo-jumbo, or to put it another way -
--the useless metaphors. :-)

Mele Kalikimaka,

Charles Barclay 2404 Maile Way
Dept. of Mgmt & Ind Relations Honolulu, HI 96822
University of Hawaii Fax: 808 956-2774 Phone: 808 956-8545