Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meaningful Capitalism: Change We Can Believe In

Alex Pattakos, Huffington Post

"The Times They Are A-Changin," sang Bob Dylan, which is one of his most famous title tracks for it captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s. Personally, this was a coming of age period for me (i.e., my transition from adolescence to adulthood); and, importantly, I was able to experience first-hand the deeper meaning behind Dylan's lyrics. Like today, I'm haunted by feelings of deja vu as I write these words, the quest for "change we can believe in" was a, if not the most, commonly-shared mantra of the times.

Fast forward three decades, through many life blessings and meaning moments, to when I was serving as President of "Renaissance Business Associates" (RBA), a nonprofit, international network of people committed to advancing business integrity and elevating the human spirit in the workplace. During my tenure as president, RBA was active in Australia, Canada, Europe, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States. The creation of RBA, in many ways, was a response to a call by the influential American author, Marilyn Ferguson, best known for her 1980 book, The Aquarian Conspiracy, who envisioned the business "community" as being on the vanguard for positive change in society and the world. My involvement in RBA during these years was influenced significantly by Ferguson's vision and call to action. (Sadly, Marilyn Ferguson died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack on October 19, 2008, but her legacy lives on. To be sure, among her other qualities, Marilyn was a "true optimist" and firm believer in human potential.)

So I must now ask: are we closer to a "New Age" in business today than when The Aquarian Conspiracy was first released in 1980 or when I was affiliated with RBA in the 1990s? The current economic situation notwithstanding, or maybe in light of the current economic situation, is the business "community" finally on the cusp of becoming the vanguard for positive societal and global change after all? Can and does the "audacity of hope" apply to the business arena and corporate world? More fundamentally, is there such hope for "Capitalism" in the postmodern era?


This is an article worth reading and discussion worth engaging in. It's an important element to reinventing democracy.

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