Wednesday, 19 May, 2021
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OPINION

Ethics Count In Business



Parmeshwar Devkota

The fresh dispute between taxi drivers and Pathao riders has become a matter of public concern. The both sides say that they are committed to serving commuters. The taxi drivers claim that since they have been providing Nepal-operated service, they should have monopoly in the sector. On the other hand, Pathao that has its headquarters in Bangladesh claims that it has been ferrying the people at an affordable price following business ethics.
Therefore, the both sides should be evaluated from business and ethical points of view. Let me share my experience. I got a telephone call from the Horticulture Centre in Kirtipur in the Friday afternoon this February. The centre that is located near the Tribhuvan University (TU) Gate asked me to reach there by 3 pm to collect some Kiwi saplings. Then, I tried to take a taxi on metre from Nilopul of Kapan. There were three taxis parked there, but none of them was ready to go on metre. So I bargained and hired one of them. I had to pay Rs. 1,000 as one-way fare.
After collecting the saplings, I returned to the office’s gate where I saw a Pathao rider waiting for passengers. I asked him how much he would charge to get me to Nilopul at Kapan. After calculating the fare, he said he would charge Rs. 240. The fare was much cheaper than the one I paid earlier. I could not believe it. So I asked him again to make myself sure. As I got Nilopul, I paid him the amount. Then onwards, I have preferred hiring Pathao riders as I found them following the business norms and ethics.
If you look back to the past, you may find that our society had given the responsibility of doing business to people belonging to a certain caste. Had they followed the value-based business, they would have prevailed in our society even today. As they could not abide by the set norms and business standards, Marwadi business community entered the fray and are now dominating the key areas of business.
The success of Marwadi community in the country’s economic sector reminds me of a speech made by Leonard Lauder in 1985. He said, “When a person with experience meets a person with money, the person with experience will get the money. And the person with the money will get some experience”. Lauder’s observation well explains why and how caste-based business communities had gone down the tube.
The taxi drivers may face similar fate if they do not follow rules and fail to understand the psychology of service receivers, who often look for cheaper and better services. Unlike taxi drivers’ claim, the Pathao riders are young, enthusiastic, and committed to serving the public all the times. Unless and until a deal does not hurt the dignity of a person and national interest, the people do not mind taking any service which is comparatively cheaper. In the open market, a trade or service should be motivated by a reasonable profit. So Benjamin Franklin rightly says, “No nation was ever ruined by trade”.