Saturday, March 11, 2006

Corporate Growth

Please understand, I'm a capitalist. I enjoy seeing a good company grow and prosper.

However, I read somewhere (I can't remember where) that there are only two things in our lives that start up and can be expected to grow and grow and never stop.

One is the corporation. Every quarter, we expect the corporation will grow. No matter how large the corporate becomes, it is expected to grow further. Not to grow is to stagnate.

There is one other thing that can be expected to grow indefinitely. That's cancer.

A cancerous tumor begins as a few cells, and grows cell by cell and inch by inch. You've seen pictures of massive tumors growing on a person's face or back. The tumor just never stops.

In a way, I hate to bring this up in my blog, because it is a simplistic comparisons and invites further analogies that may or may not apply.

But I also feel like I need to make this parallel. I think it's unhealthy for corporations that are already large to feel that they have to become bigger. I think some corporate leaders might agree with me. Once you're large, it is very difficult to grow. It's very unnatural. The only two reasons to grow are a) the stock market is demanding growth if stock prices are to rise and b) a CEO of a $5B is usually paid more than a CEO of a $1B company.

What is the alternative? I don't know. Obviously, I love the fact that my stock portfolio grows each year. And if I was a CEO, I'd have a hard time saying "Let's not grow this year."

But the comparison to a cancerous tumor sticks in my mind. I can't get rid of it.

No comments: