centred people are the source of wealth creation based on free-enterprise and other capitalist principles.
centred people are the source of pressure for reforms and the creation of new futures.
centred people are the source of dispassionate inquiry, functional analyses and the articulation of alternatives.
However, none of these approaches provide the orienting values that ensure outcomes are enlightened, desirable or even acceptable. Markets, ideologies and inquiries have intrinsic values that ensure their own perpetuation, but the values that permeate and drive actions have their origins in society.
The markets, so essential for prosperity, need to get values from their context: society. Two basic questions arise:
For answers, we must look to the well-being set of . Any criticism of markets needs to be re-directed there.
The Kinship-centred spirit provides values from a reservoir of custom and tradition.
This leads to provision of goods and services of the usual sort, in the way widely expected, to a quality that is the norm, using pricing techniques that are conventional. Anything really new and different, however beneficial, is a business risk, which only the biggest or boldest are prepared to take. Business leaders never lead society: they follow.
The Power-centred spirit provides values flowing from self-interest and egotistic drives.
This recognizes self-interest as central to many dealings. (Economists have built their own ideology on this notion.) It counts on people dispensing with rational analysis. Marketeers actively target human weaknesses: vanity, control, greed and fear. Impulsiveness and sexuality are exploited. Again, all is done to the degree conventionally permitted within society.
The Community-centred spirit provides values emerging from personal and social needs.
Meeting basic needs, like those for food, clothing, housing and information is good business. Government may initially provide utilities like water, electric power, health and education, but once needs are accepted and a basic safety net assured, commercial provision should be more efficient and effective. So, the root and context of all business and enterprise flows from people sharing basic needs and living in communities.
The Reality-centred spirit provides values derived from and supporting the human spirit.
Such values form the context and climate of commerce. Any enlightened because that is what the social system requires.
In a developed society, the result is accounting standards, strict banking regulation, bankruptcy courts, property rights, laws of contract, &c. Human frailty means that dishonesty and corruption will nevertheless persist within even the most carefully regulated business environment. When corruption permeates government and regulators, it is a sad day for prosperity.
Return to the overview of support for business and markets.
Originally posted: July 2009