Purposeless purpose

The teleological aspect of business seems to be an underpinning concept within capitalism. Latter parts of last century repeated the shareholder mantra as the purpose of business and thankfully we have moved away from a pure profit motive for business to a much more encompassing idea round sustainability and the impact of business in society. Businesses behave to attain particular purposes as outlined in their strategic plans. The language used I these plans tends to influence behaviour towards pre-ordained ends and we have seen instances where language has been taken too literally and had led to poor behaviour (what exactly did ‘shareholder value’ mean?) Implicitly we are therefore thinking about what drives business and not the root cause of what the business does or its place in society. This notion of assigning a language of purpose to business could be thought of as a random set of resources providing a functional advantage to society and having a limited use as long as society determines. (Cassette players? Concord?) Consumer demand does shape business output especially when marketeers get involved. So welcome to the world of synchronicity where businesses and consumers arrive at a coincidental point were supply and demand are at one without necessary looking at causation. We are now getting into the realms of existentialism as to how business can act without a purpose, in such circumstances a business is free to act as it wants provided there is a demand for its output. So the purpose of business is satisfaction and ultimately consumer led. How it achieves this is entirely up to the consumer ( aka the Society we want)