Businesses exist to do… you know…business.
Or at least they used to.
Apparently, that is now an outdated idea with many businesses turning into de-facto political action committees and public squares for woke politics.
This phenomenon was on display again last week when a software development company had the audacity to tell their employees to knock off the political chit-chat on the company’s dime. When they were on the clock it was time to …you know…work.
The New York Times reported, “About a third of Basecamp’s [the software company] employees have said they are resigning after the company, which makes productivity software, announced new policies banning workplace conversations about politics.
Jason Fried, Basecamp’s chief executive, detailed the policies in a blog post on Monday, calling ‘societal and political discussions’ on company messaging tools ‘a major distraction.’ He wrote that the company would also ban committees, cut benefits such as a fitness allowance (with employees receiving the equivalent cash value) and stop ‘lingering and dwelling on past decisions.’”
Businesses exist to make money, and they do that by producing a good or service that consumers are willing to purchase given their preferences and their budget constraints.
Products and services are supposed to be apolitical, and the quality of the product produced should be the only concern of employees while they are on the job.
When they are off the clock, they can say whatever they want to say about politics—although some employers do monitor employee’s social media accounts— and that shouldn’t be a controversial statement.
But we live in stupid times.
It is good to see that some employers are fighting back against woke culture—assuming that the Baseline employees who quit were in fact members of the Left— because too many companies have been catering their businesses to the mob and allowing them to dictate how they run their daily operations.
Companies ranging from Coca-Cola and Delta to Nike have all made cultural and political virtue signaling a priority, which is bizarre, because they are in the business to make money, not to win the approval of social justice warriors.
There is no area of society that I can think of that hasn’t been infected by political and cultural activists.
Whether it be sports, church, entertainment, or business, our lives are consumed by politics.
Politics has no place in business not even at the water cooler.
In 1970, the great economist Milton Friedman wrote a provocative column that still elicits strong opinions today, in which he argued that the social responsibility of businesses is to increase its profits.
Friedman wrote, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
Basecamp is following Friedman’s sentiment by telling their employees to shut up and do their job. Making profit is the name of the game, and political conversations during work hours.
If Basecamp’s employees can’t take the heat, they need to get out of the kitchen. And many of them already have.