discussing the historical, economic and social context of business..
1. On history, society, and the origins, the evolution, and the context of business (Modules 2 and 3)
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The business landscape has undergone a tremendous transformation over the years, adopting and abandoning certain elements that shape practices in the corporate world today. The change occurred amidst arguments about whether capitalism and socialism are the best approaches to promote moral business practices. While contemporary literature pities capitalism against socialism, traditional economies best illustrate how business can serve the community. Before the industrial revolution, people had distinct roles based on age and gender, which inspired a sense of community. Even though communities during the pre-industrial era suffered from malnutrition, short life expectancy, and high infant mortality, members enjoyed a greater sense of belonging. This relationship contrasted to that in command economies where a central authority made economic decisions for the community (Cibotti, n.d.). As societies develop, companies refine their operational models and adopt strategies necessary to remain relevant in business.
The capitalistic free-market economies offered individuals the authority to dictate what to produce, sell, or purchase and determine the quantities needed in the market. With the help of prices, these economies provide customers with an incentive to reduce the volume of high-price products while allowing suppliers to shift production to high-priced commodities. Because of prices and other elements of capital economies, there has been increased interconnection between markets globally, fostering trade and the exchange of ideas. Nevertheless, the modern capitalist economy traces its roots to innovations that occurred in traditional economies before the industrial revolution. These innovations contributed to economic progress that created a channel for the revolution to occur, which, in turn, paved the way to the advanced business landscape today. Therefore, changes in the business are necessary to address the evolving economic environment and social values in the world.
While some people might argue technological advancements have negative impacts on consumers in the business world, I believe that the digital platform has improved the relationship between organizations and the public. Innovations have been the backbone of developments in the business market over the years. It is the innovations that inspired the industrial revolution and contributed to the free economies that people enjoy today. The industrial revolution paved the way for advancements in business because it promoted competition among companies and fostered increased trade across the globe. However, the business era has a negative reputation owing to increased unethical corporate practices, such as child labor and hazardous working conditions. Factories prioritized productivity over the wellbeing of employees and consumers, exposing people to health conditions and poverty. Technology advancements meant that the public had greater access to information and influence in business decisions, prompting firms to adopt moral practices to remain profitable.
Technological advancements raise moral issues in the social context of business but their benefits outweigh their dangers. Technologies evoke intense debates regarding the elimination of jobs and loss of security. Over the years, new technologies have eliminated labor-intensive jobs that needed semi-skilled laborers. Additionally, the digital age means increased online storage of sensitive information, exposing private data to security breaches and jeopardizing confidentiality. Even so, technology has created new job opportunities that require people to use their creative skills rather than physical strength. Additionally, it enhances company moral obligations and promotes ethical practices in the social context by fostering greater transparency and consumer engagement in business decisions. Therefore, technology has been integral in the changing business landscape, playing a central role in the evolution of corporate social and economic models.
Cibotti, J. (n.d.). The privatized-command economy: The financial sector’s ‘free market’veil over a paradoxical form of command economy. command_america_.pdf (d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net) (Links to an external site.)
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With the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the world was introduced to what is and was known as Capitalism. Beginning in England then spreading to Continental Europe then later North America, the Industrial Revolution brought what was then small scale production to mass production. From our readings we see that technological evolutions of things such as steam power, iron and steel production, the coal industry and textile industries were major advances that eventually lead to Capitalism. The main aim was to maximize profits for factory owners. There were basically two class types in those days and those were the rich and the poor. I would argue that there really wasn’t what we refer today as a “middle class”. While most people believe that the rise of capitalism was a great thing, there were both advantages as well as disadvantages of this type of economy. Many advantages were the shift from rural villages to major cities and towns where factories were built, opportunities for people weren’t limited to farming alone but offered better opportunities for growth in other areas and people became more comfortable due to better communication and transport of mechanized goods. The disadvantages to which my argument here is based, were horrific. Women and child labor was exploited and there were no laws preventing this. People were forced to work in grueling conditions that were not safe as well as extremely long hours each day. Society was also divided into the ‘Haves and Have-Nots’ (Industrial Revolution and the emergence of Capitalism.(2017, April).
From our readings, we see that both Socialism and Communism were and are huge economic factors as well as Capitalism. In Socialism and Communism, factors of production are owned by everyone whereas in Capitalism, they are owned by individuals. Under Capitalism, factors for production are valued for profit whereas in Socialism and Communism, their values are for the usefulness of people. It is my belief that the cons of both Socialism and Communism far outweigh the pros. For example, in a Socialist and Communist economy, people are not rewarded for being entrepreneurial therefore, innovation is simply not there. Government in these two types of economies have way too much power so it seems to be oppressive (Amadeo, K. 2020).
With many types of economies that abound in our world, we can take a look back at Traditional Economies that were based on cultural values and a belief system that relied on fishing, hunting and farming. Many of these Traditional Economies later evolved into what are called Mixed Economies that were tied to Capitalism, Socialism and Communism. These Traditional Economies were heavily impacted by these other economy types that use up their natural resources and this is one reason the Traditional Economy model faded away. One key thing that interested me about a Traditional Economy was the barter system. This only worked between groups of who didn’t compete with one another. In todays society, this would never work. Could you imagine no currency and just relying on trade alone? I think not, but this is open for debate, of course. The good thing with this type of economy, was there was little to no friction between people and everyone understood their roles as human beings and it was definitely much more sustainable than what we have today. However, there were also disadvantages in that the changes in nature and even weather patterns were realized. Sadly, we saw the erosion of natural resources lessen as Capitalism, Socialism and Communism came into play (Amadeo, K. 2020).
Another great example of how economies work are the strategies on how markets link with one another. We can easily see the profit impact that market strategies have, however, I question whether or not marketing alone is a sure bet when it comes to gaining new business. Companies must have brand identity in order to gain market share. That said, it’s my belief that companies need more than just a marketing department to get those brand identities out to the public and across national borders. My belief is that customer service is more important than marketing because it not only helps build a solid consumer base but also broadens awareness of products, attitudes, experience as well as association. I suppose this could be linked to marketing in a round about way (Markgraf, B. 2018).
Coase’s Theory of the Firm from 1937 is an interesting read on the mindset that he and others had at that time in history. He believed that if firms became bigger and bigger, there would possibly be decreasing returns to an entrepreneur. He also believed that as transactions of firms rise, then an entrepreneur will not meet the standards and make best use of production factors. Basically he stated that at some point, any gains that come from economies of scale will be overpowered by the high costs of bureaucracy. As we moved into the 21st Century, our economies tend to be more value centered than cost centered as they were in the 20th Century. Companies such as Apple, Amazon, Salesforce, Zara and Whole Foods have shifted their attention to competition on the value level by showing consumers how their products will be of greater value to them. From my experience in viewing companies today, I believe in order for companies to survive in todays markets, they must get bigger and bigger rather than stay the same size and somewhat remain stagnant. I think with newer technologies in the 21st Century, we can certainly see how big firms have become more efficient thus putting more influence on value rather than cost (Denning, S. 2013).
Industrial Revolution and the emergence of Capitalism. (2017, April). Himachal Pradesh PCS Free Notes. http://https://himachalpradesh.pscnotes.com/main-notes/paper-iv/industrial-revolution-and-the-emergence-of-capitalism/ (Links to an external site.)
Amadeo, K. (2020, November 7). Socialism and Its Characteristics: Pros, Cons, Examples, and Types. https://https://www.thebalance.com/socialism-types-pros-cons-examples-3305592 (Links to an external site.)
Amadeo, K. (2020, April 6). Traditional Economy With Its Characteristics, Pros, Cons, and Examples. https://https://www.thebalance.com/traditional-economy-definition-examples-pros-cons-3305587 (Links to an external site.)
Markgraf, B. (2018, January 5). The Profit Impact of Market Strategies. https://https://smallbusiness.chron.com/influence-advertising-business-76790.html (Links to an external site.)
Denning, S. (2013, September 25). Did Ronald Coase Get Economics Wrong? https://https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/09/25/did-ronald-coase-get-economics-wrong/?sh=2dd50bbe1fb2
discussing the historical, economic and social context of business.