#Capitalism “It does not have to be this way”

It doesn’t have to be this way. How many times have we heard that said of doing business?

For a man who argued that the purpose of business was to benefit people over shareholder returns, it appeared at the beginning and the end of his treatise on people-centered economics:

“More than a billion children, women, and men on this planet suffer from hunger. It is a travesty that this is the case, a blight upon us all as a global social group. Perhaps an even greater travesty is that it does not have to be this way; the problems of human suffering on such a massive scale are not unsolvable. If a few businesses were conducted only slightly differently, much of the misery and suffering as we now know it could be eliminated. This is where the concept of a “people-centered” economics system comes in.”

It concluded:

‘It is only when wealth begins to concentrate in the hands of a relative few at the expense of billions of others who are denied even a small share of finite wealth that trouble starts and physical, human suffering begins. It does not have to be this way. Massive greed and consequent massive human misery and suffering do not have to be accepted as a givens, unavoidable, intractable, irresolvable. Just changing the way business is done, if only by a few companies, can change the flow of wealth, ease and eliminate poverty, and leave us all with something better to worry about. Basic human needs such as food and shelter are fundamental human rights; there are more than enough resources available to go around–if we can just figure out how to share. It cannot be “Me first, mine first”; rather, “Me, too” is more the order of the day.’

“It doesn’t have to be this way” said former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband talking of a plan for recovery “which reaches your kitchen table”.

In 2011 with the introduction of Creating Shared Value’ we learned from Harvard Business Review that corporations should have a broader social focus:

“It doesn’t have to be this way, say Porter, of Harvard Business School, and Kramer, the managing director of the social impact advisory firm FSG. Companies could bring business and society back together if they redefined their purpose as creating “shared value” — generating economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges.”

Even closer to the original point is a finance company called Aspiration:

“Too often, the financial industry runs on “greed is good” and leaves millions behind. It doesn’t have to be this way. Aspiration was created because everyone deserves a financial firm that brings you fairness, great products and the chance to both make money and make a difference.”

Oxfam is saying it too.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose another future. A future where governments act to help everyone, where people are put before profits, and everyone is given a fair chance. We can help end poverty, and the rich and powerful need to play their part.”

Speaking of the Healing Organisation, Professor Raj Sisoda reiterates that it’s a matter of putting people at the centre to end suffering.

“We live in a world of extraordinary pain and suffering. If we are not consciously part of the healing, we are probably part of the hurting. Most businesses take healthy and whole people and over time, stress them out and burn them out, adversely impacting their health and happiness as well as their families. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Business can be a source of healing, of making broken people whole again — and being extraordinarily successful at the same time. It is not about healing businesses; it is about business as healing”

Terry Hallman who wrote his treatise in 1996 was neither a financier or an academic. he was homeless by the time I met him and helped him introduce P-CED to the UK.

He was an activist, involved directly in tackling human suffering and in 2006, speaking out about “Death Camps, For Children’ he drew attention to the plight of economic orphans and the wilful blindness of those coopted into silence, through fear. He quoted from his 1996 paper:

“We have only to ask ourselves individually whether or not this is the sort of progress we want,where we accept consciously and intentionally that human progress allows for disposing of other human beings.

“This is a tricky question. Except in the case of self-defense,if for any reason we answer ‘Yes’,regardless of what that reason is,we are in effect agreeing with the proposition of disposing of human beings. Whether disposal be from deprivation or execution,the result is the same for the victim. If we agree that sometimes,for some reasons,it is acceptable and permissible to dispose of human beings,actively or passively,the next question is ‘Which people?’ Of course I will never argue that one of them should be me,though perhaps it should be you. You respond in kind,it cannot be you,but maybe it should be me. Not only can it not be you,it also cannot be your spouse,your children,your mother or father,your friends,your neighbors,but,maybe someone else. Naturally I feel the same way. Maybe we come to an agreement that it shouldn’t be either you or me,or our families and friends,that can be disposed of,but perhaps someone else. While we are debating this — passionately and sincerely,no doubt — a third party comes along and without warning disposes of the both of us,or our families,or our friends. And there is the trap we have fallen into,because whether or not we approve of our or our families’and friends’demise is irrelevant. It is fair because we accepted the principle of human disposability. We just didn’t intend that it be us who are tossed,but if we or our families and friends die,it is in accordance with principles that we ourselves have accepted and so must live — and die — by.”

Following up in 2007, with a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine Hallman described the core focus of his work- those who suffer most:

‘This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for “people-centered” economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority — as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine’s poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a “top-down” approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first — not secondarily, along the way or by the way. ‘

in February 2014 MEPs in the South West UK were called on for support with a letter from Maidan leaders.

In spite of the apparent common ground , the ‘Marshall Plan’ gained neither financial support nor the approval of academics and 10 years after being shared with the EU, it is now being passed off as an EU project with funding support of $5bn/year over 10 years.

One of those involved, Andrius Kubilius, MP, a former PM of Lithuania is a representative of the European People’s Party. In 2012 when the ‘Marshall Plan’ reached Commissioner Michel Barnier, then VP of the EPP, he denied the claim of plagiarism in a response to Sir Graham Watson.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is.



Putting people above profit, a profit-for-purpose business #socent #poverty #compassion #peoplecentered #humaneconomy

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jeff Mowatt

Putting people above profit, a profit-for-purpose business #socent #poverty #compassion #peoplecentered #humaneconomy