Business Morality: Markets are Relationships

O'Reilly Radar has an interesting post about business as morality. The beginning is ok, but I don't totally agree with Doc's notes about three systems of morality. I tend to believe that almost anything you do ends up being for self-interest. (Even devoutly religious people are self-interested. They want to go to heaven).

The part that I found interesting was this (emphasis mine).

But relationship is what actually makes markets. I'm talking about real markets here: places where we do business and make culture. Relationship takes the passions we put into creating businesses and makes them work in the social context we call a market. (Did anybody ever go into business because they were looking for a way to please stockholders?)

That is an excellent question. Did they? For public companies no. For small closely held companies, possibly. But the broader point he is trying to make is still valid. You do things for customers first, not stockholders. The latter will profit when you take care of the former.

If you are interested in this, you can also read Doc's old post about the concept, and an old post I wrote about a Drucker passage on the purpose of business.