What is the goal of economic activities? Money! Profit!
This is the common answer that students give at business schools or at university economics departments, and it is as well the goal of the majority of CEOs. However, as Christian Felber clearly points out, nowhere in the democratic constitutions we can find evidence of this rule. Indeed, any modern constitutions state that the goal of economic activity is the advancement of the general well-being or to serve the common good. Then, why the bottom line for business today is the profit maximisation?
Today we would like to suggest a brilliant book by Christian Felber: Change Everything – Creating an Economy for the Common Good.
In his book Felber puts down the foundation for an alternative economic system whose highest goal is the Common Good. Felber starts analysing the biggest problems our current economic system, a broken system, whose biggest failure, according to Felber, e that ” the values which had for the economy today are completely different from those which apply to our daily interpersonal relationship”. If we live everyday life in accordance to human values such as dignity, honesty, mutual respect and trust, in the business world we are driven by greed, egoism and irresponsibility. And why do we behave in this way? Felber easily find the answer in the basic rule that dominate the current market economy: the pursuit of profit and competition.
More than a rule, this has become a dominant paradigm, especially thanks to the shareholders’ value maximisation dictate and that ideology started 250 years ago from Adam Smith, who believed that the pursuit of the self-interest by economic agents together with the guide of The Invisible Hand would have create the maximum welfare for everybody.
Unfortunately, we well know that it did not work in this way, and the consequences are clearly visible.
What shall we do than to fix this broken system?
Felber idea is to redefine the goal of economic activity, shifting from the merely profit maximisation to the maximisation of the Common Good, putting “the system on a new course” where human dignity, justice, sustainability and democracy are the only goal and define the economic success of companies and nations.
The Economy for the Common Good is not just an idea, is already an international movement. It all started in 2010 in Vienna with just a dozen of enterprises and now it involve more than 1700 companies and 200 organisations, as well as thousand of people.
Definitely it is a book you must add to your library as Felber’s ideas offer a concrete alternative to create a better future!