The most important thing I learned about business in my first year was that business wasn't based on exploitation or coercion at all. Instead I realized that business is based on voluntary cooperation. No one is forced to trade with a business; customers have competitive alternatives in the market place; employees have competitive alternatives for their labor; investors have different alternatives and places to invest their capital. Investors, labor, management, suppliers — they all need to cooperate to create value for their customers. If they do, then any realized profit can be divided amongst the creators of the value through competitive market dynamics.He offers insight into the appeal of "leftist philosophy":
In other words, business is not a zero-sum game with a winner and loser. It is a win, win, win, win game — and I really like that. ... Were we profitable? Not at first. ... Despite the loss, we were still accused of exploiting our customers with high prices and our employees with low wages. The investors weren't making a profit and we had no money to donate. Plus, with our losses, we paid no taxes. ... According to the perspective of the Left, I had become a greedy and selfish businessman. At this point, I rationally chose to abandon the leftist philosophy of my youth, because it no longer adequately explained how the world really worked.
... material prosperity, by itself, does not create happiness. We have higher needs, as expressed in Maslow's hierarchy [of needs], and the freedom movement needs to ... consciously create a vision that addresses meeting the[se] higher needs.
That is the secret of the success of the Left, despite its bankrupt economic philosophy. The Left entices the young with promises of community, love, purpose, peace, health, compassion, caring, and environmental sustainability. The Left's vision of how to meet these higher needs in people is fundamentally flawed. But the idealism and the call to the higher need levels is magnetic and seductive, nonetheless. The irony of the situation is that the Left has idealistic visions of higher human potential and social responsibility but has no effective strategies to realize its vision.