How To Succeed In Business: Really Try
ALL
In Pursuit of Wealth: The Moral Case for Finance
by Yaron Brook | September 30, 2017
Inequality Doesn't Matter If We’re All Paid According to the Value We Create
by Don Watikins | October 18, 2016
Who Cares about Inequality?
by Don Watikins | April 28, 2016
Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality
by Don Watkins | April 19, 2016
Economic Inequality Complaints Are Just A Cover For Anti-Rich Prejudice
by Don Watikins | April 14, 2016
Equality of Opportunity Doesn’t Exist in America — and That’s a Good Thing
by Don Watikins | April 06, 2016
Inherit The Wind . . . And Not Much Else
by Don Watikins | April 05, 2016
Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality
by Don Watkins | October 20, 2015
Religion in America
by The Editors | December 05, 2014
Religion vs. Freedom
by Onkar Ghate | December 03, 2014
Debate: “Inequality: Should We Care?”
by Yaron Brook | May 08, 2014
Economic Inequality: Who Cares?
by The Editors | March 25, 2014
Our Poverty Problem?
by Don Watkins | March 11, 2014
Is Inequality Fair?
by Yaron Brook | March 05, 2014
Government tries to do too much: Opposing view
by Don Watkins | January 26, 2014
“You didn’t build that,” conservative style
by Steve Simpson | December 09, 2013
Why Do 1.4 Million Americans Work At Walmart, With Many More Trying To?
by Doug Altner | November 27, 2013
Atlas Shrugged Is A Book About Pride In One’s Work, And The Success That Results
by Steve Simpson | November 08, 2013
Bernie Madoff, Steve Jobs, and Wall Street Greed
by Don Watkins | September 26, 2013
Justice Department should let US Airways & American Airlines merger proceed
by Tom Bowden | August 16, 2013
What Are The Search Results When You Google ‘Antitrust’?
by Tom Bowden | April 18, 2013
To Be Born Poor Doesn’t Mean You’ll Always Be Poor
by Yaron Brook | April 12, 2013
We Should Be Embarrassed by the Sequester Debate
by Yaron Brook | March 20, 2013
“Give Back” Is One of the World's Most Impoverishing Commands
by Yaron Brook | March 12, 2013
Capitalism in No Way Created Poverty, It Inherited It
by Yaron Brook | February 25, 2013
3 crucial lessons Ayn Rand can teach us today
by Yaron Brook | February 02, 2013
Capitalism without Guilt
by Yaron Brook | January 21, 2013
President Obama Duels With Ayn Rand Over What Makes America Great
by Don Watkins | October 29, 2012
Why Ayn Rand’s Absence From Last Thursday’s Debate Benefits Big Government
by Yaron Brook | October 15, 2012
The Virtue of Employee Layoffs
by Yaron Brook | September 06, 2012
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: A Paean to American Liberty
by Don Watkins | August 17, 2012
President Obama vs. My Grandfather
by Don Watkins | July 30, 2012
The Dog-Eat-Dog Welfare State Is Lose-Lose
by Don Watkins | July 12, 2012
Changing the Debate: How to Move from an Entitlement State to a Free Market
by Don Watkins | July 02, 2012
Private Equity Firms Want Acquisitions To Profit, Not Fold
by Doug Altner | June 05, 2012
Opposing view: Celebrate private equity
by Don Watkins | May 29, 2012
The “On Your Own” Economy
by Don Watkins | March 09, 2012
What's Really Wrong with Entitlements
by Don Watkins | February 21, 2012
Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand — Why Are You Still So Misunderstood?
by Don Watkins | February 02, 2012
America Before The Entitlement State
by Don Watkins | November 18, 2011
How Did Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged Predict an America Spinning Out of Control?
by Onkar Ghate | October 31, 2011
What We Owe Steve Jobs
by Don Watkins | October 06, 2011
What’s Missing From The Budget Debate
by Don Watkins | July 12, 2011
Does America Need Ayn Rand or Jesus?
by Onkar Ghate | June 29, 2011
When It Comes to Wealth Creation, There Is No Pie
by Yaron Brook | June 14, 2011
It’s Time To Kill The “Robin Hood” Myth
by Yaron Brook | May 06, 2011
Using Ayn Rand's Values to Create Competitive Advantage in Business
by John Allison | April 04, 2011
In Defense of Finance
by Yaron Brook | February 15, 2011
The Tea Party Will Fail — Unless it Fully Embraces Individualism as a Moral Ideal
by Tom Bowden | January 21, 2011
How About Tax Reparations for the Rich?
by Don Watkins | January 18, 2011
The Guilt Pledge
by Don Watkins | September 22, 2010
How To Succeed In Business: Really Try
by Don Watkins | September 13, 2010
The U.S. Anti-Business Epidemic
by Don Watkins | August 17, 2010
Atlas Shrugged’s Timeless Moral: Profit-Making Is Virtue, Not Vice
by Yaron Brook | July 20, 2010
Capitalism: Who Needs It — Ayn Rand and the American System
by Yaron Brook | June 09, 2010
Apple vs. GM: Ayn Rand Knew the Difference. Do You?
by Don Watkins | March 02, 2010
Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays
by Onkar Ghate | December 18, 2009
Why is Ayn Rand Still Relevant: Atlas Shrugged and Today’s World
by Yaron Brook | August 10, 2009
The Corrupt Critics of CEO Pay
by Yaron Brook | May 2009
America’s Unfree Market
by Yaron Brook | May 2009
Energy at the Speed of Thought: The Original Alternative Energy Market
by Alex Epstein | Summer 2009
Is Rand Relevant?
by Yaron Brook | March 14, 2009
Stop Blaming Capitalism for Government Failures
by Yaron Brook | November 13, 2008
From Flat World To Free World
by Yaron Brook | June 26, 2008
Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company
by Alex Epstein | Summer 2008
The Right Vision Of Health Care
by Yaron Brook | January 08, 2008
Deep-Six the Law of the Sea
by Tom Bowden | November 20, 2007
The Influence of Atlas Shrugged
by Yaron Brook | October 09, 2007
The Morality of Moneylending: A Short History
by Yaron Brook | Fall 2007
Say “No Way!” to “Say on Pay”
by Yaron Brook | May 22, 2007
Atlas Shrugged — America's Second Declaration of Independence
by Onkar Ghate | March 01, 2007
Pay Is Company’s Prerogative
by Yaron Brook | January 08, 2007
Religion and Morality
by Onkar Ghate | October 18, 2006
Net Neutrality vs. Internet Freedom
by Alex Epstein | August 16, 2006
Why Are CEOs Paid So Much?
by Elan Journo | May 11, 2006
To Outsource or to Stagnate?
by Onkar Ghate | August 01, 2004
Ayn Rand's Ideas — An Introduction
by Onkar Ghate | June 02, 2003
Capitalists vs. Crooks
by Elan Journo | July 22, 2002
Forgotten Heroes of 9/11
by Onkar Ghate | May 17, 2002
Religion vs. America
by Leonard Peikoff | 1986
The Sanction of the Victims
by Ayn Rand | November 21, 1981
Egalitarianism and Inflation
by Ayn Rand | 1974
The Moratorium on Brains
by Ayn Rand | November 14, 1971
What Is Capitalism?
by Ayn Rand | November 19, 1967
POV: What Is Capitalism?
by admin | November-December 1965
Is Atlas Shrugging?
by Ayn Rand | April 19, 1964
The Fascist New Frontier
by Ayn Rand | December 16, 1962
America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business
by Ayn Rand | December 17, 1961
The “New Intellectual”
by Ayn Rand | May 15, 1961
Capitalism vs. Communism
by Ayn Rand | 1961

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Government And Business in Voice for Reason
Government & BusinessCapitalism

How To Succeed In Business: Really Try

by Don Watkins and Yaron Brook | September 13, 2010

An enterprising manager walks into Steve Jobs’s office and lays out his plan for Apple‘s future. “It’s simple,” he says. “Step one, stop giving employees bonuses. Step two, save money by doing away with our Quality Assurance process. Step three, pad our earnings in order to drive up our stock price. What do you think?”

Talk about an indecent proposal. In reality, that kind of plan would get a manager fired. But believe it or not, this reflects the conventional view of how profit-seeking businessmen think.

Health insurance companies make money by denying patients needed tests. Doctors make money by giving them unnecessary ones. Speculators make money by recklessly bidding up the price of stupid investments. Short sellers make money by driving down the price of sound ones. Lie, cheat, steal, roll the dice and cut corners: People think that’s the easy path to business success.

In his pitch for Dodd-Frank, President Obama complained that in “the absence of sound oversight, responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restriction on activities that . . . take advantage of middle-class families, or, as we’ve seen, threaten to bring down the entire financial system.” In Obama’s view — a view many Americans share — being “unscrupulous and underhanded” is a competitive advantage.

Is it any wonder, then, that laws and regulations shackling businessmen are increasing by the day? If lying, cheating and stealing really are the road to riches, then businessmen can’t be trusted and economic freedom can’t be tolerated.

But it’s not true. In a truly free market, the fly-by-night shysters who try to make a killing get killed — by the government, which outlaws force and fraud, and by the market, which shuns any company that fails to create genuine value.

Just take a look at WorldCom. CEO Bernard Ebbers had spent nearly twenty years growing WorldCom into a telecom leader. But when the company ran into financial difficulties in the early ’00s, Ebbers hid its troubles through fraudulent accounting. After the $11 billion fraud was exposed, Ebbers was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and WorldCom went belly-up.

Think about your own line of work. Think of the time, energy and money your organization pours into research and development, quality control, motivating employees and searching for innovative ways to meet its customers’ needs. Can you succeed via dishonesty and corner-cutting? We’ve spoken to businessmen all over the world and they all say the same thing: “Oh, you couldn’t get very far in my industry that way. But those other industries . . .”

They’re wrong. The only way to profit in a free market over the long run is via production and mutually beneficial trade. Henry Ford grew rich by building us cars. Walt Disney grew rich by bringing us delight. Robert Noyce grew rich by inventing the integrated circuit and making modern computers possible. Sam Walton grew rich by selling us virtually everything dirt cheap. The profit motive doesn’t drive people to cut corners but to create value.

And it is with the long run that most profit-seekers are concerned. In 1982, when children in Chicago started dying from Tylenol that had been deliberately tainted with cyanide, Johnson & Johnson immediately pulled over thirty million bottles from stores. Short term, the recall was costly, but the profit motive led Johnson & Johnson to ignore the short-term costs and make a decision that ultimately saved the Tylenol brand. This is the norm under capitalism — the Madoffs are a rare and fleeting exception.

In today’s semi-capitalist, mixed economy, however, Obama is right that a lot of charlatans are lining their pockets. But he’s wrong that government’s the solution: it’s the problem.

Take housing. Thirty years ago, when the housing market was much freer, lenders knew they couldn’t make money doling out bad loans. So they meticulously examined the credit history of potential borrowers and asked for substantial down payments.

Government intervention in the market changed all that. Thanks to Washington’s affordable housing crusade, unscrupulous mortgage bankers could make easy money by lending to anyone with a pulse and selling worthless paper to government-backed behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But in a truly free market, profit-seekers have no more motive to resort to chicanery and crime than do teachers or doctors. The path to profit isn’t plunder — it’s productivity.

About The Authors

Don Watkins

Former Fellow (2006-2017), Ayn Rand Institute

Yaron Brook

Chairman of the Board, Ayn Rand Institute