Business: Preserving Community in the Information Age

Businessmen are like gardeners. Their main tools are interpersonal communication, innovation and strict economic sense. They cultivate various elements and resources in our world to help provide color, variety, infrastructure and worth to society. In recent years, they’ve been vilified because of their plundering and abandonment of the very things they successfully grew, and of the other people who had taken to helping them as employees. However, everyone is a business person-and using resources wisely and creatively is part of what life is all about.

In fact, it’s amazing what can be done with elements that seem untenable, like an abandoned lot in the middle of a run-down part of town, or a rotten piece of lumber. I daresay, it still takes money to really utiilize many things, but sometimes, depending on the intended use of something, money is easier to find than one might guess. If that makes you, the reader, pause and frown, there may be good reason. This brings up an important point about community-in our age, our sense of community is often a bit transient and fractured. However, community is important given that it is the local network through which resources, power, aid and ideas flow. I place an immense emphasis on the word aid.

The reason it is often much better to allow private parties to handle local affairs rather than (big) government is that government is powerless to aid a community unless it takes from someone-it must raise taxes higher and higher in order to compensate for the lack of overall worth it generates in and of itself. The money, or whatever resources are in question, can best be utilized with the thorough and consistent input of the community in which the resources exist, for they are the local infrastructure. Whenever an individual in a community has a significant problem, it is likely the community around them that could give the best chance for resolution, barring the need for expensive treatments or rare resources (like equipment). Even when the solution to a problem does not exist in a particular community, the community can still donate a small sum of money per individual that amounts to a very large sum overall, which would allow the afflicted person to find the help they need. Communities are extremely strong, flexible and important structures, but in modern North America our sense of community isn’t always terribly strong or communicative due to technological isolation, heterogeneous populations, and the extreme distances we travel.

A good business acts as a conduit in the system of community, and allows precise, customized and powerful solutions to be implemented. In this case, the human need for community and socialization is being served with the same innovation that helped create a rift to start with: the internet and social networking sites. No one denies that face-to-face socialization is still most important, but staying abreast of events in peoples’ lives and being able to communicate heavily in just about any way one chooses has great benefits when there’s nothing else to substitute. Thus, the creators and administrators of sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have innovated a barren patch of memory on a cluster of servers into a helpful and wildly popular (read: rare and valuable) form of service in the greater world community and especially in the classical “Western” world.

Given all of this, business people should not be reviled or envied; they should be thanked and worked with. It is through their efforts that new value is introduced to the world and by which many difficult problems can be solved.

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~ by Bob on May 5, 2009.

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