Labor Day Revelations
Moving from Labor Day back into the work week, I’m pausing to recognize the dysfunctions of our current business state. I won’t bother trying to rewrite what has already been put so eloquently by Dr. Ervin Laszlo in The Fuji Declaration’s research report on the business sector:
“The social responsibility of business was, as Milton Friedman wrote in his influential 1970 article in the New York Times, “to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits — so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” The assumption was that business is a utilitarian system in which individuals and companies do the right thing because market forces create the necessary opportunities for doing so.
As Lord Keynes said, this presupposes an invisible hand that harmonizes the interests of the individual and of society. Operating on the above assumptions has resulted in an unrestrained drive by companies to increase their profits and market share. The outcome has been a historically unparalleled concentration of wealth in the hands of a few entities owned and controlled by an elite group of managers and investors. This has occurred at the expense of benefits to the great majority of actors in business and in society and has permitted the use of technology without regard for its societal and ecological consequences. Continuation by business in its classical role would create critical problems in the economy as well as in society.”
There is no invisible hand helping individuals harmonize their interests with their organizations, their companies, their society. As we know, workers are often exploited and their interests ignored even if they are brought to the table.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There is a new wave of people who are committed to the “arc of interconnectedness,” who are committed to moving away from self-interested organizing solely for short term profits. Moving from this problematic logic to something that benefits us all. On this work day back from Labor Day, I’m pausing to reflect on my part in furthering this movement and getting re-inspired by it.
I’m inspired by thinking of how to move to a business logic that enhances the connectedness of people with their work, with their teams, and their leaders. Work that is based on operating from strengths, being fully engaged and committed, and deriving a sense of success from it.
I’m thinking of how businesses can enhance their stated purposes to consider the social and ecological consequences of work, how they can organize to provide autonomy to their workers, and institute leaders who are committed to evolving the collective consciousness.
I’m also thinking of work that is not too much, that allows for overall health and wellbeing. Because the opposite just isn’t sustainable anymore and we can’t afford it. I’m excited to do this (new) work because it might just not even feel like work. Are you feeling the change?