(Redirected from Portal:Business and economics)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services).[need quotation to verify] Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors."

Having a business name does not separate the business entity from the owner, which means that the owner of the business is responsible and liable for debts incurred by the business. If the business acquires debts, the creditors can go after the owner's personal possessions. A business structure does not allow for corporate tax rates. The proprietor is personally taxed on all income from the business.

The term is also often used colloquially (but not by lawyers or by public officials) to refer to a company. A company, on the other hand, is a separate legal entity and provides for limited liability, as well as corporate tax rates. A company structure is more complicated and expensive to set up, but offers more protection and benefits for the owner.

Selected article

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was a British philosopher, political economist and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an advocate of utilitarianism, the ethical theory that was systemized by his godfather, Jeremy Bentham, but adapted to German romanticism. It is usually suggested that Mill is an advocate of negative liberty. However, this has been contested by many academics, notably Dr. David Walker of Newcastle University in England. The canonical statement of Mill's Utilitarianism can be found in Utilitarianism. This philosophy has a long tradition, although Mill's account is primarily influenced by Jeremy Bentham, and Mill's father James Mill. Mill’s famous formulation of Utilitarianism is known as the "greatest happiness principle." It holds that one must always act so as to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. One of Mill's major contributions to Utilitarianism is his argument for the qualitative separation of pleasures. Bentham treats all forms of happiness as equal, whereas Mill argues that intellectual and moral pleasures are superior to more physical forms of pleasure. Mill distinguishes between "happiness" and "contentment," claiming that the former is of higher value than the latter, a belief wittily encapsulated in his statement that it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

Mill furthermore dealt with one of the prime problems associated with utilitarianism, that of schadenfreude. Detractors of utilitarianism argued, among other objections, that if enough people hated another person sufficiently that simply reducing the happiness of the object of their hatred would cause them pleasure, it would be incumbent upon a utilitarian society to aid them in harming the individual. Mill argued that, in order to have such an attitude of malice, a citizen would have to value his own pleasure over that of another, and so society is in no way obligated to indulge him, and, to the contrary, is fully permitted to suppress his actions.

Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. He also accepted the principle of legislative intervention for the purpose of animal welfare. Mill believed that "equality of taxation" meant "equality of sacrifice" and that progressive taxation penalised those who worked harder and saved more and was therefore "a mild form of robbery".

Mill's Principles of Political Economy, first published in 1848, was one of the most widely read of all books on economics in the period. As Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations had during an earlier period, Mill's Principles dominated economics teaching. (In the case of Oxford University it was the standard text until 1919, probably because the text that replaced it was written by Cambridge's Alfred Marshall).

Selected image

Detail from Labor, Charles Sprague Pearce (1896).

Manual labour (manual labor in American English) or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and also to that done by working animals. It is most literally work done with the hands (the word "manual" comes from the Latin word for hand), and, by figurative extension, it is work done with any of the muscles and bones of the body. For most of human prehistory and history, manual labour and its close cousin, animal labour, have been the primary ways that physical work has been accomplished. Mechanisation and automation, which reduce the need for human and animal labour in production, have existed for centuries, but it was only starting in the 19th century that they began to significantly expand and to change human culture. To be implemented, they require that sufficient technology exist and that its capital costs be justified by the amount of future wages that they will obviate.

Selected quote

"The public services to which the yeomanry were bound were not less arbitrary than the private ones. To make and maintain the high roads, a servitude which still subsists, I believe, every-where, though with different degrees of oppression in different countries, was not the only one. When the king's troops, when his household or his officers of any kind passed through any part of the country, the yeomanry were bound to provide them with horses, carriages, and provisions, at a price regulated by the purveyor. Great Britain is, I believe, the only monarchy in Europe where the oppression of purveyance has been entirely abolished. It still subsists in France and Germany.

The public taxes to which they were subject were as irregular and oppressive as the services. The ancient lords, though extremely unwilling to grant themselves any pecuniary aid to their sovereign, easily allowed him to tallage, as they called it, their tenants, and had not knowledge enough to foresee how much this must in the end affect their own revenue. The taille, as it still subsists in France, may serve as an example of those ancient tallages. It is a tax upon the supposed profits of the farmer, which they estimate by the stock that he has upon the farm. It is his interest, therefore, to appear to have as little as possible, and consequently to employ as little as possible in its cultivation, and none in its improvement. Should any stock happen to accumulate in the hands of a French farmer, the taille is almost equal to a prohibition of its ever being employed upon the land. This tax, besides, is supposed to dishonour whoever is subject to it, and to degrade him below, not only the rank of a gentleman, but that of a burgher, and whoever rents the lands of another becomes subject to it. No gentleman, nor even any burgher who has stock, will submit to this degradation. This tax, therefore, not only hinders the stock which accumulates upon the land from being employed in its improvement, but drives away an other stock from it. The ancient tenths and fifteenths, so usual in England in former times, seem, so far as they affected the land, to have been taxes of the same nature with the taille."

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776


Things you can do

Urgent and important articles are bold

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:

Related WikiProjects

Business news

Wikinews Economy and business portal Wikinews logo

On this day in Business history...

October 19:

Did you know


Related portals


The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources



Purge cache