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35. “Business relations are infected through and through with the disease of short-sighted motives. We are so concerned with immediate results and short-term goals that we fail to look beyond them.”

Assuming that the term “business relations” can refer to the decisions and actions of any organization—for instance, a small family business, a community association, or a large international corporation—explain the extent to which you think that this criticism is valid. In your discussion of the issue, use reasons and/or examples from your own experience, your observation of others, or your reading.

I agree with the speaker that decisions and actions of businesses are too often “infected” by short-sighted motives. Admittedly, attention to immediate results and short-term goals may be critical, and healthy, for survival of a fledgling company. However, for most established businesses, especially large corporations, failure to adequately envision the long-term implications of their actions for themselves and for others is all-too common and appropriately characterized as a “disease.”

The business world is replete with evidence that companies often fail to envision the long-term implications of their actions for themselves. Businesses assume excessive debt to keep up with booming business, ignoring the possibility of a future slowdown and resulting forfeiture or bankruptcy. Software companies hastily develop new products to cash in on (v. 靠..赚钱, 乘机利用) this year’s fad, ignoring bugs and glitches in their programs that ultimately drive customers away. And manufacturers of inherently dangerous products cut safety corners (concern?) to enhance short-term profits, failing to see the future implications: class action liability suits, criminal sanctions, and shareholder revolts.

Similarly, businesses fail to see implications of their actions for others. Motivated only by the immediate bottom line, movie studios ignore the deleterious effects that movie violence and obscenity may have on their patrons and on the society at large. Captains of the energy industry pay lip service to environmental ramifications of unbridled energy use for future generations, while their real concern is with ensuring near-term dependence on the industry’s products or services. And manufacturers of dangerous products do a long-term disservice to others, of course, by cutting corners in safety and health.

In sum, I think the criticism that businesses are too concerned with immediate results and not concerned enough with the long-term effects of their actions and decisions is for the most part a fair assessment of modern-day business.


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