When they say "that's business"….
I’ve never quite understood what the phrase “that’s business” meant. Is it in the same vein as “all’s fair in love and war”? But even that’s not true, as the Geneva Convention bans certain war tactics. As for love, despite the promise underlying the slogan “all’s fair”, I never seem to get away with anything. 😉
The concept “that’s business” is usually accompanied by a shoulder shrug or a raising of both hands heavenward in the spirit of “what can you do?”…but why do we find the practice acceptable? Why do we allow this “get out of jail free” concept when someone shows an amoral side to their business practices?
I observed it recently applied where someone played a bunch of parties off each other for months, and then broke an executed contract with one as an apparently lower-priced deal came along. Would that same person not also divorce their spouse a few months after marriage if a better offer came their way? If the “break fee” wasn’t half their personal net worth and the marital home, I bet they would.
On the one hand we have this rubric of “fiduciary obligation” to get the best deal for one’s shareholders, and on the other there’s the concept of giving your word to people, and backing it up with a signed contract. And sticking to it.
I think it’s time for all of us to take a vow: no more “that’s business” bromides when someone clearly screws another party. Let’s call it what it is: unacceptable ethics.