Is there a morality of "acceptable profitability" in these tough economic times?
Something that's been rattling around my brain for the past few weeks...
A few months back, I remember a news item about Starbucks warning of a challenging 2009, and that their growth was going to be less than projected. They were still going to grow, mind you, just not as much as during the last few years. Companies that are used to profits of 7 - 15% are considered to have "dismal" results if growth was only 1 - 2%. Compare that to auto companies and banks that are reporting true losses of billions every quarter, and *any* growth appears to border on an epic win.
The normal Wall Street view is that companies must continue to maintain solid growth, or the stock gets hammered. With that same mindset, companies look to trim expenses and lay off staff so that they can somehow attempt to achieve something close to what Wall Street expects. In many cases, it's not a matter of avoiding losing money, but a matter of trying to maintain some level of growth.
In the face of job losses that come close to setting records, should we as a country set aside the profitable growth goals and attempt to "break even" instead? Granted, this isn't a viable long-term position, but breaking even and providing jobs seems more responsible than cutting jobs to continue to grow and turn a profit.
Extremely simplistic, but I just wanted to get that out of my head and on "paper".