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When being pro-business is bad business

When being pro-business is bad business

In mulling over a brief exchange with commissioner John Sweet, it occurs to me that there is a perception amongst members and supporters of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce that because some positions taken by the organization have been criticized those being critical are somehow “anti-business”. The discussion came up in the context of the chamber letter recommending qualifications for the new planning director. Sweet feels the chamber’s letter was appropriate because it is natural for the organization to promote business. “That’s what the chamber does”, he said.

Promoting business would indeed be a natural function of the Chamber of Commerce but that isn’t what this letter was doing. The letter, which you may link to here, was promoting business at the expense of public process and fair application of land use laws. In short, the chamber was advising the commission to favor business and shareholder profit over individual property rights.

Adhering to and applying laws equitably benefits all parties and business is nothing without the local consumer and plenty of goodwill. The chamber’s position was far from pro-business, it was impolitic, offensive and represented both greed and hubris in that business is somehow privileged and above the law. No one I know is anti-business, just anti bad business practices and ethics. The treatment of Captain Yates comes to mind.

A power struggle has formed in Coos County that pits business, specifically Bay Area Chamber of Commerce business, against everyone else by attempting to place the business ethos, the organization, or at least its leadership on a pedestal rather than conducting itself as a community collaborator. It’s a “my way or the highway” approach which harkens back to an earlier post wherein, “…functional stupidity is prompted by the contemporary economy of persuasion which emphasizes symbolic rather than substantive aspects of organizational life. In organizations this encourages a major focus on symbolic manipulation– often in the form of attempts to develop strong corporate cultures and identities, corporate branding, and charismatic leadership, exercised often through stupidity management… The result is that adherence to managerial edicts is encouraged, and criticism or reflection on them is discouraged”.

To many consumers, the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, as distinguished from other local chambers, puts business in a bad light and doesn’t reflect well upon those who accept its conduct without question.

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About magix

When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.


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5 Responses to "When being pro-business is bad business"

  1. Wim de Vriend
    Wim de Vriend  March 31, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Actually, judged by what the local “business leaders” do, good business practices consist of corporate cronyism, corporate welfare, government favors and legal bribery. The entire “economic development” industry is based on those gimmicks. And yes, the way Captain Yates was treated fits into this mindset; Knutson would be surprised if anyone thought something improper had happened.

  2. themguys  March 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    This is for M. McKelvey and his “progressive” dimocrats of Coos County, you know, the ones who think it’s just dandy for Coos County to get into the oil/coal business. Take a look at how well Exxon does business. Then tell me again Verger With The Frozen Face, and Roblan, and the rest how good it will be for us.

    Watch the end, crude flowing down the street, forty houses evacuated. That’s EXXON.

    Then for you pimps to the industry? Bite me !

  3. themguys  March 7, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    • magix  March 7, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Excellent! … you aquatic tart

  4. susanp  March 6, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Dont forget, Sweet was the first of the do nothing leaders of SCDC.


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