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GMAT Essays : AWA / AWM Issue Essay 4.1

GMAT Essays - AWA / AWM Analytical Writing    'Analysis of Issue' Essay

 

Contributed by Vikram
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Issue Topic 4.1 A powerful business tycoon is in a better position to influence the destiny of a society or nation than any political leader or government official.

Discuss whether you agree or disagree (partially or totally) with the view expressed providing reasons and examples.

ESSAY (Contributed by Vikram)

In my view, a powerful business leader can indeed influence the destiny of a nation to a greater extent than any government official or for that matter any politician. In the paragraphs that follow, I intend to present arguments that will make my position on this matter amply clear.

 

From time immemorial, individuals who belong to one of two classes have determined the destiny of societies and empires in different corners of the world - the political leaders who govern the state, and the businessmen who support the state’s economy. One could argue, that in many cases, army generals also play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of a nation, especially during times of crisis. However, in this essay, for the sake of argument, I will assume that in general (no pun intended!), the political leadership of a state does exert some power on the functioning of the army.

 

For a start, any political office or government position has a fixed tenure. Also, this tenure gets shorter as the 'power’ associated with this position increases. So, obviously, an individual holding such a position can exercise his influence for a limited period. In contrast, an entrepreneur or business magnate will remain an important player so long as his business thrives and his profits grow.

 

What opportunities does a powerful business leader have to influence the course of a community or nation? If one examines the political process in a democracy, one realizes that a business leader's influence extends all the way from the electoral process to the actual act of governance and enacting laws. Big business establishments fund most election campaigns in functioning democracies. Obviously, campaign funds form a critical component of the electoral process and could make the difference between victory and defeat. So, one man with immense financial resources could in effect put an individual of his choice in the seat of power. Since the elected party or leader would owe this tycoon an immense debt of gratitude, their economic or even political policies would generally concur with the views and ideas of their generous patron.

 

Business leaders also play important roles in popular uprising and revolutions. All political movements need money to stay alive. For example, clandestine resistance against communist regimes or dictatorships that face stiff opposition from the regime itself, receive funds from wealthy expatriates who are in favor of regime change. If these movements succeed, it is the political leaders who usually get all the accolades but the pivotal role that the business leader had in this success simply cannot be ignored !

 

Another good example is how a media baron can have an influence on the way a nation thinks. This idea is amply demonstrated in the James Bond film 'Tomorrow never dies' where a media magnate brings two nations to the brink of war by publishing factually incorrect stories through his vast media empire. Also, media plays such as comic strips, and more recently television serials and movies play a crucial role in defining contemporary popular culture. Modern day media barons include Sumner Redstone, the CEO of Viacom and Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the vast NewsCorp empire.

 

In today’s world, we find that business leaders change the way we li ve through innovative products and services. The most striking example of them all is that of billionaire Bill Gates. This individual single-handedly has changed the world by ushering in the age of the personal computer. Although he has amassed a fortune greater than that by any other person in the history of mankind, he has also changed the world forever. Other such examples include Henry Ford, Michael O’ Leary of Ryan Air fame, Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, and many others. Many businessmen such as Donald Trump and Ralph Lauren have also become pop culture icons. It is also interesting to note that a number of business leaders successfully make the transition into politics. A good example is that of Silvio Berlusconi who, in addition to being a media baron, is also the Prime Minister of Italy and the President of the European Union. The opposite transition from politics to business is quite rare.

 

Political leaders and government officials rarely have free reign to take any decision they like. They are constrained by government rules, political loyalties and a limited tenure. In short, they belong to a system that does not encourage too much risk. A system where success is measured by survival rather than excellence. For these fundamental reasons, they can never be as influential as a business leader can be!


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