SOURCE: Institute for Enterprise Ethics at Daniels College of Business

Institute for Enterprise Ethics at Daniels College of Business

June 26, 2012 13:54 ET

Institute for Enterprise Ethics Says No One Benefits From Stonewalled Business/Government Debates

DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - Jun 26, 2012) - Even in these early days of the political campaign season, the strain between business and government is fodder for debate. Business leaders and candidates are quick to share long lists of expectations met.

Not surprisingly, those lists rarely match.

The political head-butting underscores serious problems in what should be a collaborative, mutually beneficial relationship, says Daniel Sweeney, PhD, director of the Institute for Enterprise Ethics at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business.

"All too often, the discussion focuses on two points: Business leaders say they need fewer regulations. Government leaders say businesses should be honest and transparent," Sweeney says. "Both arguments are legitimate -- and both are also woefully shortsighted.

"Too few public officials are willing to acknowledge that a key role of government in a capitalistic society is to cultivate growth, not merely to constrain or enforce. And too few businesspeople understand that the fundamental purpose of commerce is to provide quality, timely, desired goods and services, not merely make a buck," he adds.

Sweeney developed a list of guidelines to facilitate broader discussion:

What businesses should expect from government:

  • A stable economic environment based on sound fiscal/monetary policies;

  • An objective, predictable legal/judiciary system;

  • A well-educated workforce;

  • A dependable, safe, modern transportation and communication infrastructure;

  • Stable, open international relations and global trade policies;

  • A stable, non-oppressive regulatory environment.

What government should expect from business:

  • An adequate and timely supply of quality, safe economic goods and services;

  • Growth in both output and employment;

  • Economic productivity;

  • Technical and economic innovation and creativity;

  • Stable, reliable and safe capital production;

  • Careful consideration of the potential consequences of actions that may spread beyond an individual company;

  • Honesty, fairness and openness.

Sweeney advises candidates and business leaders will use the guidelines to have meaningful conversations about the business/government stalemate, and he hopes citizens will use the guidelines to demand substantive results.

"Will the discussions be easy? Of course not," Sweeney says. "But we're missing the point if we talk only about regulations and transparency. We're not addressing productivity, innovation, consequences or employment. As long as both sides are entrenched in dogma, we're not going anywhere. That doesn't benefit anyone."

Visit the Institute for Enterprise Ethics, www.enterpriseethics.org, to learn more.