Reader says business puts profit before people

To the Editor:

Throughout history there has always been some feature which best defines the time we lived in. We call it an “age.” Some examples are The Age of Reason, The Age of Enlightenment and so on. Today is no different, but instead of having an uplifting description, our current age has a negative connotation: “The Age of Profit,” excessive profit.

Profits are not only good, but necessary. The issue, however, is how a profit is calculated and to what lengths one goes to maximize profits. Profits are neither good nor bad. It is what a person or company does to maximize a profit where morality comes in. Today, there are many examples of an immoral profit. Immorality occurs whenever human needs or wants are subverted in order to maximize profits. Today it is low wages and the environment among many others .

In the '50's, their was a huge problem of water pollution caused by firms dumping dangerous untreated chemicals directly into rivers such as the Housatonic, Quinnipiac and the lakes throughout Connecticut. When confronted, those firms replied “We can't afford to clean it up, it's too expensive.”

Exactly what we hear today.

Strangely, what they are saying is true; it would cost more for these firms to clean it up before dumping. Their error? They priced their products without any thought of environmental impact. Dumping is cheaper, but it is an incomplete cost picture. Cleanup cost must always be factored into the profit equation.

Today, thanks to regulations governing the environment, firms no longer can get away with it. The thought of easing those environmental regulations is chilling. What we have leaned over the years is that the environmental record of business men is poor since the nature of business is to maximize profit by spending as little as possible.

Today, the issue of the environment is global in scope with the specter of climate change at the forefront.

So much more is known today than in the past, yet the opponents of regulation refuse to seriously consider climate change as real.

This issue of the environment is too big for individuals or advocacy groups to solve alone. It wasn't until the government became involved that anything positive happened. What makes some people believe that business will get the environment thing right this time, since profits must still be maximized. Shareholders demand it, even if it is immoral.

What I recommend is that you contact your elected representatives at the state and federal level. Contacting them is easy via e-mail. Climate change affects you and your grandchildren.

John Scalici