Most of us have read books of, or about, businessmen. These books are popular surely. My recent reading includes a music producer's book (Weintraub). These kinds of things in general are called memoir—I have read several. For example, I read such a book from the pen of publisher Harold Evans. I don't finish books, but I read some of that, awhile back. Always in movies we see how these persons talked and did business. There are a lot of movies like that, going right back into cinema history. But what is actually going on?
What do you suppose is going on? Is this "business" a social activity? Perhaps it is a social activity of some kind, but what kind of social activity is that? What part is just greed?
How do we evaluate a thing like that? It seems to me like no one is addressing this in a very deep way. As for this ignorance of the sociology of business, there might be more than one explanation. Or it could be that the sociality of business is unknowable, or that we just do not know because we never asked. It is possible that we haven't a clue. It does not need to be that there is something malicious about it.
But I still want to ask, I still want to know: what is happening when --- bourgeois businessmen deal. What are we are talking about here? What I will say is that we are talking about bourgeois business culture.
They make deals, as we know. Is "dealmaking" just a natural thing—like, Um-----primitive, or primate, behavior? Do primates make deals too? Is it just nature?
If not natural, what then? Should we call it "trucking and bartering"? Is Smith the man? Is it he who will help us understand? I say it is a social activity. But what do I mean?
What are these dealing persons? Are they primitive primates or are they, on the contrary, sophisticated gentlefolk? Hmmm... What should they be? What, then, is it? What, then, are they? What does it mean to deal, in business? Or to wheel? Or: is that "weal"?
Are they all phonies? In some sense, I think they are. Are they monkeys who have learned to make money? Do we need monkeys to organize society for us? Bunch o' cads and cheaters, in their white collar outfits! (I don't like to wear suits.)
Well, what are they? -what are they doing, really, when they buy and sell from each another, when the businessmen sell their products to their fellow species-members? Is it a Jewish ritual?
Sorry but in all those literature and movie descriptions — I still don't get it. I still do not feel I understand. I do not feel I am getting any real picture or real story.
Well, I am the economist, and that means I do know after all! So, in checking my mental notes, what I came up with is that it is a method. This seems to me a good answer. Method: it is a method.
I also know, since I said it is a method, that the next step here is to ask about what a method is. What is a method?
A method is there for to get somewhere. Ah reckon. Or --- to get something done.
Well, then what exactly are we trying to get done? Ah, well --- that is a fuzzy topic.
But here is Wikipedia to straighten us out. I looked under "teleology" and what I read makes me add to this investigation the notion that business is for doing good. That sounds strange, because we are conditioned not to believe something like that, but there you have it from Socrates himself via Wikipedia's "teleology" entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology
"To say why he was sitting and not not sitting, we have to explain what it is about his sitting that is good, for all things brought about (i.e., all products of actions) are brought about because the actor saw some good in them. Thus, to give an explanation of something is to determine what about it is good. Its goodness is its actual cause - its purpose, telos or "reason for which" (Timaeus 27d8-29a). "