Taken from Gorgias as recorded in Plato's Dialogues
"Consider Socrates," he will say, "whether Gorgias or any one-else can produce any greater good than wealth." Well, you and I say to him, and are
you a creator of wealth? "Yes," he replies. And who are you? "A money-maker." And do you consider wealth to be the greatest good of man? "Of
course," will be his reply. And we shall rejoin: Yes; but our friend Gorgias contends that his art produces a greater good than yours. And then he
will be sure to go on and ask, "What good? Let Gorgias answer." Now I want you, Gorgias, to imagine that this question is asked of you by them and
by me; What is that which, as you say, is the greatest good of man, and of which you are the creator? Answer us.
What art or profession provides the greatest benefit to men and his civilization? That was the question asked by Socrates. That question is still
relevant, perhaps even more so.
The kind of professionals we find in leadership positions today are invariably businessmen, whose backgrounds are in the creation and distribution of
goods, services, and money.
By the reasoning of Socrates, such men are convinced that the creation of wealth and luxuries are the greatest good that man can do, and have
fashioned their world accordingly. Obviously, that is only the estimation of these sorts of men. A soldier would think that the organization of
armies and their materials would be superior to the work of business, and a physician would consider the health of men and the knowledge of medicines
and remedies far superior.
A healthy government is made from many different parts of our society. Just like a well balanced diet, it includes dishes from many different
ingredients. We can't survive on one kind of food very well, why do we allow our government to be made up and influenced by one kind of people.
If the people estimate that the generation of money is the greatest good, then the corporation would be their highest institution. Of course, we can
say that this has become true. This, like an imbalanced diet, offers our society only one element upon which to sustain our nation. And, just like a
man who only eats one kind of food, he develops various diseases.
If the popular notion is that the corporate world provides the greatest good for America, then we have a condition where the people have become
unfamiliar with the great array of professions and arts that really go into making a big country operate. Money is only a part of a nation, business
is the realm of merchants and banks, and has never been the sole occupation of the nation.
As such, I speak as a physician, diagnosing a nation who has become gorged upon one kind of food, and has rendered itself unable to savor or
appreciate the other things before us in this world. The remedy is simple, a purgative should be given, and the excess purged and removed from the
body of our nation. Let us swallow the bitter medicine of this treatment, and spew out from us what we have gorged ourselves upon.