by Noriyuki Morimoto
No matter what product a seller offers, and even before considering what the customer says, commerce cannot be moral unless the seller can first say with honesty and confidence that what they offer is valuable. Only with this moral foundation in place, and when the customer’s and seller’s evaluations of the product meet at one point, can commerce be economically viable.
Many people have a special attachment to certain hobby items, such as audio equipment, cars, motorcycles, and cameras. Such people are usually particular about the manufacturer as well, and they may think that a manufacturer of their beloved items is the ideal place to work. There is no greater joy than being able to make a living by producing and selling what you love and believe in.
In the case of such a product, the customer is buying it with the same sense of conviction, indicating the existence of a common value between the buyer and the seller. The fact that the business is built on such relationships is nothing less than the realization of the high road of commerce as a stable profit generator that is sustainable over the long term.
Needless to say, the reason for generating sustainable profits is not because the business is moral, but because it actualizes common value with its customers. It is not against morality as long as it achieves common value with its customers, and it is sustainable because it is not against morality. In other words, commerce is not morality, but there can be no commerce contrary to morality.
For those who do not consider a fraudulent business to be fraudulent, the business may seem sustainable, but when it causes psychological harm to customers at some point, it will cease to be sustainable. For an insider with ordinary views, if they know full well that a product is not good, it is not mentally sustainable to keep selling a product under the pretense that it is.
To take a very simple view, people are able to keep working because of the joy it brings, and when there is no social loss: activities without joy are not sustainable, and the occurrence of social loss will put an end to the activity, even if it is enjoyable. Creating good products and the appreciation of customers bring joy, which ensures that there is no social loss. Businesses with such a structure are capable of generating sustainable profits.
Chief Executive Officer, HC Asset Management Co.,Ltd. Noriyuki Morimoto founded HC Asset Management in November 2002. As a pioneer investment consultant in Japan, he established the investment consulting business of Watson Wyatt K.K. (now Willis Towers Watson) in 1990.