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‘First We Kill All The MBAs’

How the Cult of Business Education Leaves A Wake of Death and Destruction, Part 1

By Joel Martin, Climate Writer

Read the original article from The Jumping-Off Place, a new progressive news outlet.

To begin with, I offer my sincerest apologies to the Bard for misappropriating and misusing his line from Henry VI. Nevertheless, I think you get my drift. I’m writing about how the narrow-minded and nearly religious acceptance of the business school curriculum is contributing to everything from our loss of privacy to the destruction of our planet. Since the world is now thick-headed, absolutist and angry, I feel obliged to point out that the title of this article is entirely figurative and that I wish no harm to come to any MBA, especially me.

That leads to my confession. I have an MBA from one of the most prominent business schools in the US. I interned and did the training program at arguably the world’s best known investment bank (I hated it). I’ve been a venture capitalist and entrepreneur for most of my professional life, and I’ve rubbed shoulders with quite a few billionaires and countless finance and investment professionals. As one finds in any walk of life, some are wonderful, generous, progressive people, others make Ebenezer Scrooge look saintly. Now you know my vantage point, mea culpa!

The overarching problem with business education is the focus on money alone as the measure of merit of any business activity. Many economists argue that anything that matters winds up affecting the comings and goings of cash, but the evidence is strongly against that thesis. We’ll dispatch with that wishful thinking in a subsequent article.

Business, particularly big businesses, have always been pretty bare knuckle enterprises, but the  spread of business school tenets and their unquestioning acceptance is now leading to existential crises. We have: the knowing destruction of the climate by Big Oil; plastic waste everywhere, including in every human placenta; opioid addiction and death thanks to Purdue Pharma; the destruction of civil discourse and the spread of misinformation by Facebook/Meta; the unregulated collection of our most sensitive personal data by Google, Meta and Amazon; and complicity in sextortion, suicide and the crushing of teenage mental health by Instagram/Meta. There are endless examples and countless villains though I have to give a special shout out to Mark Zuckerberg for seemingly having no soul whatsoever.

I’m a proponent of capitalism, and I’m convinced that there is a lot of merit in business education. The problem is the narrowness with which it is construed, particularly the use of money as the sole measure of human progress and happiness. When you add in an unduly short-term, short-sighted view of the world and what counts as a financial return, then you have a recipe for carnage.

In my forthcoming articles, I’ll dig into the particular shortcomings of business education, how that education needs to change, and how the law and labor need to fight back.


Joel Martin is a climate activist and writer for and The Jumping-Off Place. He is a scientist, semi-retired biotech entrepreneur, and long-time San Diego resident. 

The Jumping Off-Place: Politics, Labor, Culture, San Diego will “comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable” and will feature voices intent on challenging the local and national hegemony during a time when market forces are destroying news outlets. Subscribe to The Jumping-Off Place.