Discussion: Is Love All You Need?
Philosopher and historian Martin Buber (1878–1965) taught that love is not a feeling but a responsibility of one person for another. Feelings may come and go, but the solidarity that people have with each other and the care they take with one another define them as human beings. Thus, love, as responsibility, depends on relationships based on good faith and concern. Business, too, is about relationships. Without a relationship of trust, there can be no exchange of goods or services upon which economies are built.
Many people question the place of love in a business setting. When seen from Buber’s perspective, however, love is not an idyllic feeling, but a driving force for justice and care. This does not deny the need for profit and financial success. It simply emphasizes the other side of the twofold purpose of business (profit and responsibility). In fact, John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods, has said that love has been the basis of his success in business, which translates into care and concern for customers beyond profit and for workers beyond productivity.
If there is anything that transcends time, place, and culture, it is love. The search for a universally applied set of ethics always comes back to it. But what does love look like in a business setting?
IBM expresses their mission: “[IBM] remain[s] dedicated to leading the world into a more prosperous and progressive future; to creating a world that is fairer, more diverse, more tolerant, more just” (Byers and Stanberry, 2018).
- Can Martin Buber’s notion of love play a role in business? Why or why not?
- If so, what would that look like?
- What responsibilities do companies have regarding justice and care?
- Should business ethics be grounded on more concrete tenets? Why or why not?
should be about 250-300 words.
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