Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Business Strategy

I just got out of the most unique class of the MBA. It is a Business Strategy class and the first half of day one of the class was a discussion of the business genius of Madonna. She has been massively successful for longer than any other female act.

The professor said, "the first law of business is that sex sells."

That is the problem. Because people perceive that appealing to sexuality is the best way to sell anything, it adds to the coarsening of society. Sex may sell, but it is the cheap and easy way out of advertising. One of my classmates asked if there were any moral issues with selling with sex. The professor said it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is using whatever strategic advantages you can to maximize profits.

In the professor's defense, I think she was exaggerating to make a point, but I see more clearly how vital the role is of Latter-day Saints and like minded people. Business has every incentive to appeal to whatever will increase profits. If sex sells, then they will use it.

I think the Saints' role is to lead. We must stem the tide of filth that is washing over society. It may be that we are fighting a losing battle, but it is a battle we must fight with all we have. Society may continue on its course of self destruction, but individuals can still be saved from that destruction.

Business is all about quantifying the benefits of this or that decision. Sex may sell in the short term, but there are lasting costs that reach generations into the future. People worry about the national deficit, but what about the moral deficit?

The fall of the family has dire consequences. Divorce and illegitimate births harm the way children grow up. They have higher risk of poverty, dropping out of high school, using drugs, being arrested, and having children of their own out of wedlock. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Of course, I am speaking in generalities. I met people in Philadelphia who pulled themselves out of poverty despite the culture around them. I know single moms who are miracle workers, and raise great kids. People can be transformational figures in their families and communities. But all that aside, the costs of drug abuse, criminality, and under-achievement are real and expensive.

I think business leaders and religious leaders have a responsibility to actually lead. The Gadarene Swine Law says that just because everyone is in formation, it doesn't mean they are headed the right direction.

Church leaders were right to warn us "that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."


WhiteEyebrows said...

Yeah, your professor's comment reminds me why capitalism is such a GREAT system... it has no regard for the people it serves. It's efficient above all things, brutally efficient. It will do whatever it must to survive. It knows no boundary, moral or otherwise.

Pornography is defined as "form without substance." And in so many cases of current marketing, that's all we see; hollow form intended to scintillate to draw audience. It makes me feel for the models and artists who are literally 'used', chewed up and spit out, by the system.

Michelle said...

love your posts! this one was exceptionally interesting. I love your remarks on the swine law. Just because there is a formation of people moving doesn't mean they are headed in the right direction.... brilliant.

I am most impressed at your ability to find positive in a world of wholesomelesssness (if that's a word)

cougartex said...

I can't claim credit for the phrase "Gadarene Swine Law" (unless remembering it gives me credit), I learned it from Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

Michelle said...

ahh, Maxwell. Well I do give you credit for remembering. :-)