Recanting The Common Good

Of late there are two global issues—climate change and COVID-19 pandemic–that make quite clear what those who are in charge of human society truly care about and are concerned with.

As twenty-six climate summits have come and gone, humankind has yet to truly commit to doing what is absolutely necessary to avert our very own destruction—think self-annihilation, suicide. So, why is global warming not seen as the existential threat that it is? Having this understanding with its corresponding action will hurt the economy and thus impinge upon profit-making.

So, again, why is global warming not seen as an existential issue but a (business) problem nonetheless?
 It offers the potential for increased environmental regulation (government overreach is the problem)
 It increases the cost of doing business (but of course will be passed on)
 It increases companies’ healthcare benefit cost (but of course will be passed on)
 It impinges upon profit
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Similarly, environmental cancer-causing pollution is a concern, because:
 It offers the potential for increased government—e.g. EPA/OSHA–regulation (government overreach impinges on profit)
 It shortens the life of productive workers
 It reduces the labor pool
 It increases companies’ costs, such as healthcare benefit cost (which can be passed on)
 It impinges upon profit, unless your business is in the symptom relief/treatment business

Today’s other global issue is the COVID-19 pandemic. Why haven’t the COVID-19 vaccine producers, as well as elected officials, enabled vaccine manufacture and thus distribution world-wide that would (likely) stop the spread of the virus and the emergence of future mutations?
 There’s relatively no material gain in doing so
 Belief that maximizing (their) profit is a right—patent protection
 Demand must continue to exceed supply (for maximum profit of course)
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In The Mind of Those In Charge
Why do the business-minded (which includes elected officials) continue decision-making as they do?
 Economic (self) interests!
 Pursuit of unlimited material growth requires it!
 Mustn’t let indisputable scientific facts get in the way of pursuing what we want!
 There is so much more (yet) to exploit!
 There is so much more profit (yet) to accumulate!

Are the business-minded behaving rationally?
 To be rational in behavior essentially means to act in accordance with one’s intent
 If the intent is to pursue unlimited material growth—material self-interest—then of course the behavior is in relation to this intent: it is rational behavior.

But the essential question to explore is, is the intent rational in the context of life itself?
Rational, or in relation to what? Sustaining one’s viability as a living being?
 With the overarching intent being the pursuit of unlimited economic growth, and given a finite Natural world, the intent is not sustainable or as the business-minded like to say, it is not scalable.

Then, why don’t these people simply stop?
 Their worldview/system of orientation—the basis of capitalism—is about economic growth, not the common good and human progress, so their reasoning makes sense. That is, in the context of capitalism it is quite rational.
 They are addicted to material gain/profit

Need to Kick the Habit
The following question explains the above while answering itself:
Why is it that in the US (at least) the issue that its expensive we can’t afford it is raised when it comes to policy/legislation addressing the common good (e.g. climate change, universal healthcare, education) yet when it comes to policy/legislation benefiting the wealthy class (e.g. tax cuts for the wealth, funding war) the policy/legislation passes without the issue ever being raised?

This recanting of the care and concern for the common good, for humankind, is not an inevitability in human society. It is a human made phenomenon grounded in the worldview of capitalism, but it is not the only worldview upon which human society can be ordered. Contrary to what some have claimed way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, there are alternatives.

The intent of life doesn’t have to be material self-interest maximization—a Hunger Game existence—which only serves the wealthy class. It is not our destiny to experience life in a society of competing individuals each seeking his/her self-interest—of a bunch of MEs wanting it all–with total disregard for the effect upon others. Isn’t this the kind of behavior you’d expect from an addict?

Acknowledging the need to kick the habit, to cease supporting (and cooperating with) business as usual means rejecting the maxim that ensuring the profitability of the corporation outweighs sustaining the viability of life itself. It means that you understand that conducting business as usual intensifies our problems, that it is suicidal to continue to do so. In the larger scheme of a life affirming worldview, human life is not merely a resource for the economic-engine.

Results Obsessed

We appear to be obsessed with results (further explained here)—the outcome of our activities—while we generally give little attention to the activity itself. Why? Continue reading

Presence of Fear Requires Courage

Fear is an emotion, a type of energy we all have available to us to help protect us against threats and danger. Thus the emotion of fear can be quite useful, unless of course it is the only or predominate energy that animates us. A fearful person—one largely motivated by it—will likely see danger and threats to him/her self everywhere and in most every other person. Moreover, when every other person is a potential threat to ones’ success toward fulfilling one’s goal in life, then fear of others—especially those not like oneself—inevitably emerges. Continue reading

Potential Psychopaths Us All

In the article Three Things to Know to Hold Wells Fargo Accountable the author Lynn Parramore (Senior Research Analyst at Institute of New Economic Thinking) relays what William Lazonick (Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Lowell) identified as the three things we need to know: 1) American businesses have become stock manipulation machines; 2) focusing on short-term stock prices leads to corruption; and 3) punishment means little until executive pay is understood. The first essentially speaks to the profit maximizing intent of business and its executives and the second to the importance of it happening now if not sooner while the third is that the entire scheme is ultimately profitable because of the enormous size of the gains. So now that we know these things, what are we to do about it? Continue reading

Clueless in a Human World

The authors of a recent HBR article, Wells Fargo and the Slippery Slope of Sales Incentives, provided the answer “to meet sales quotas and earn incentives” to the question “why they (they being the lower level employees of Wells Fargo) did this in the first place.” The “this” being unethical if not illegally selling and charging customers for services they did not need or request. It seems that the perspective here is that the employees where at fault, after all they are the ones who acted fraudulently! Continue reading

There’s No Substitute for Understanding

In a December 3rd Harvard Business Review article (Rescuing Capitalism from Itself) Henry Mintzberg noted “since 1989, the United States has experienced some alarming changes, for example the massive infiltration of corporate money into public elections, disquieting levels of corruption in business, rising income disparities, and the decline, of all things in this country, of social mobility.”

 

How have these alarming changes come about? Are these the result of outside forces or are they the result of the economic system itself? Continue reading

A Theory for Leadership for a Human World

Leadership, according to Peter Northouse (2010, p 3), is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. So then is evidence of leadership the achievement of a goal by a group? Does the goal matter? Do the means matter? Continue reading

Is that all there is?

According to the mission of our materialist egoistic system of economics (aka capitalism) we are to accumulate, without limit, as much material wealth as we can and (individually) we are to do this by maximizing the satisfaction of our individual material self-interest. In other words one leads a successful life to the extent that one has realized material gain and amassed wealth—the greater the material gain, the more worthy and the more successful one is. Accordingly this is to be one’s goal in life, it is all there is to life itself! Necessarily, it follows that the pinnacle of self-interest behavior, of getting as much as possible for one’s self, having it all for one’s self, is greed—there is little doubt in this philosophy of life greed is good! Continue reading

Leadership Untainted

When most people talk of leadership what they are really speaking to is the highest levels in the management hierarchy. They are talking about the legitimate authority positions in an organization. They speak of leadership as if it was a noun, a name we attribute to a person or position. Continue reading

In The Larger Scheme of Things

What happens when the larger-scheme-of-things is ignored and denied out of existence? Continue reading