Seth Godin wrote a nice entry in his blog today. He writes and I copy it entirely below, as it’s succinct and deals straight to the point: (Highlight emphasis is mine)
There are a few reasons why one might not care what happens in the long run:
- You don’t intend to be around
- You’re going to make so much money in the short run it doesn’t matter
- You figure you won’t get caught
Short-term marketing involves using deception to make a quick sale, or using aggressive promises to get a quick hit. Having a price war counts as well. Linkbait is on that list as well.
Short-term architecture means putting up a cheap building, a local eyesore, something that saves money now instead for building something for the long haul. The guys who put up the Parthenon in Rome weren’t doing short-term anything. Hard to say that about a big box store.
Short-term manufacturing ignores the side effects of pollution, bad design and worker impact because it’s faster money in the short run to merely make the product (and the sale) in the most direct way possible.
Short-term investment banking invests in transactions that are unsustainable and eventually blow up (after commissions are paid).
Short-term sales involve spamming as many people as you can, as fast as you can.
Short-term hiring requires you to hire cheap, train as little as possible and live with turnover.
Bernie Madoff was a short-term capitalist, of course.
Left to their own devices, (particularly during difficult economic times) too many people misunderstand the essence of capitalism, and rationalize a do what it takes mindset that is ultimately self-defeating. The reason we need the SEC, the EPA, transparent operations, a free press that cares about its mission and people willing and able to speak up is that they make it expensive to choose the short-term option.
The short-term capitalist is betting that someone else will clean it up.
One of the worst things you can call a business person, I think, is a short-term capitalist. He selfishly takes for now and fails to contribute in return.
The internet has opened two doors. First, it’s easier than ever to do the short-term thing, anonymously if you choose, with a big splash, internet ads, eBay scams and more. On the other hand, since there’s a revolution going on, it’s also easier than ever to build something that matters, something that lasts.
The thing to remember about the short-term is that we’ll almost certainly be around when the long-term shows up.
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– The Faceless Trader