Stefan Stern’s blog in last Friday’s Financial Times has stuck with me ( He was writing about a conversation with business guru Michael Maccoby ( and speculating on whether it’s the role of business to save the world.

What stuck with me is that Maccoby’s admonition is that at the end of the day the business of business is to make a profit. Which is of course true – but surely that’s HOW the machine of business works and keeps working, and not WHY it exists in the first place?

Truth to say the business of business can be anything that it wants to be. People found businesses these days to allow freedom of expression, a better work/life balance, the opportunity to be free of management bureaucracies. Last week someone told me of a carpet company who made carpets because it wanted to save the world – the business had a vision of environmental well-being and their starting place was carpets. But carpets wasn’t why it existed. And I’m guessing profits weren’t the reason why either.

Maybe Maccoby needs to spend more time with the HR team and on the shop floor, less with the management leaders.

Or maybe it’s that once the original founders and their vision move away from a business, the original passion is neither transferred nor is it reinvented for the next generation, so the raison d’etre defaults to… money?

Let me know what you think – should business save the world, yes or no?