From my friend Ettuspadix Beautilator:
I’ve been a professional musician for 35 years. at irregular but frequent intervals I’ve said to myself ‘I’m in the wrong business’; but i have never ‘sold out’. I’ve kept my self-employed business going through thick and painfully thin. recently I’ve been asking myself why I do it, and I’ve told myself that it’s a vocational thing. the work that i do in composing, playing, recording, practising, teaching etc. is not a business or an ‘industry’. it’s a profession, what I ‘profess’ to do, an occupation.
It occurs to me that the National Health Service, now that it has been privatised, is NOT in the business of Health. it is in the business of medicine; the practise of medicine is where the money is to be made. to promote Health, therefore, is counter-productive. if we were all healthy, there would be no business. every time a doctor diagnoses an ‘illness’, he starts a chain reaction towards profit. no doctor has an incentive to cure people, only to get a ‘patient’ to consume as much medicine as possible.
Our Police Service is now NOT in the business of preventing crime, as this is not a viable business. It is in the business of finding crimes to police. Police officers are currently much more aggressive in their approach to the Public, in order to gain the ‘sales conversion’ from enquiry to arrest, from chat to assault, from innocence to confession.
Public transport is in the business of getting ‘bums on seats’; once there, customers are provided with no quality of service, because quality is not cost efficient. supermarkets are in the business of getting you to buy things; poor quality food and essentials are the result. energy companies are in the business of metering things, and making the meter enforce their pricing structure for them. the media are in the business of getting you to buy the paper, watch the programme, believe the story.
I now know that I am in the ‘right’ business. I have absolved myself of the ‘guilt of little profit’. today I am a little bit more free than I was yesterday. Because what I do is not governed by monetary profit, it’s driven by motives not explainable in a bottom line. If an accountant can explain it, it’s not worth doing.