This post includes the top 5 most read posts on my blog of 2012. Thank you to everyone in the community for reading, commenting and sharing my content in 2012. I really appreciate what you readers, friends, colleagues and more have done. You constantly inspire me, this is why I believe I wouldn't been able to build and grow my blog by myself.
What does it mean for an economy to be "healthy"? Consider, for a moment, a few very different numbers.
9.8% of adults strongly agree that their life is close to their ideal. 19% of adults strongly agree that they are satisfied with their life. 21% of adults strongly agree that their life has a clear sense of purpose. 30% of adults strongly agree that on most days they feel a sense of accomplishment from what they do.
Surprised? What about these figures?
20% of the world’s population is undernourished. Over 5 million children die every year from malnutrition. More than 11 million children die every year from preventable diseases, like malaria and diarrhea. Half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. Over a billion people have no access to safe, fresh water. There are 27 million slaves in the world.
Umair Haque suggests that “if business as usual can’t solve any of the above, then just what the heck is it good for?” I believe that if business isn't good enough for the people, for the society, for the environment and most recently isn't good for economies, shareholders or prosperity we all have HUGE opportunities (personally and professionally) to build a better and more sustainable future.
The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income. The volume of output an economy can produce, import, export, or finance sketches only the crudest outlines of literally how well human exchange causes people, communities, society, and future generations to fare.
Simon Kuznets, 1971 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Umair Haque (among the Top 50 Thinkers) the author of Betterness* is making a great analogy between the first car was ever build and our economic system. The first car didn’t have the speedometer, but the rev counter to check whether the engine was working. In fact there was no interest to measure speed limits in a time when reaching the destination at all was the main priority. Something similar happens to our economic rev counter which is measuring "how furiously” the engine of global commerce and business is pumping, but without the speedometer we have no indicator that tells us whether all this movement that sucks both human and planet resources is generating “the motive force that lifts people from penury to prosperity”. * you can find this quote about S. Kuznets on page 12 of Betterness.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
Remarks of Robert F. Kennedy at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968 More than forty years ago during the famous speech at the University of Kansas at Lawrence on Gross National Product, Bob Kennedy pointed out the limits and the dangers of an economic vision which does not consider what really matters and what really counts in terms of human prosperity.
The Top 50 Business Thinkers is the definitive global ranking of management thinkers published every two years: last edition was 2011 and next will be in 2013. Why am I talking about this topic? Because while reading the list, I was amazed to find out that 3 out of the 50 best thinkers are also among my favorite authors! I believe these are invaluable readings for two main reasons: 1) their findings, the results of their studies and 2) the mind set of the authors who are shifting paradigmes in the business world and in our culture. You can check these two links in my blog, to find these books and eventually about other very valuable readings: My Best Readings In English and My Best Readings In Italian. Would you like to share your favorite business authors and titles?
My heartily wishes to see the end in 2012 of this kind of fake prosperity sustained by the “business as usual” paradigm. This year I wish a new awareness will spread and grow in every country: the mere pursuit of profits has created only devastating effects for individuals, societies, businesses, global and local environments. In 2012 I wish more and more businesses around the world will embrace this secular cultural change, this phenomenal paradigm shift and will start to build a complete different kind of prosperity. I mean a prosperity where individual fulfillment, trust, empathy, human relations are the priorities over economic returns, incomes, shareholders value, stock exchange rules. In 2012 I wish more and more people around the world will be starting to ask the question: if this model of prosperity as we know it can’t provide food to 20% of the world's population (1.5 billion), if 5 million children are dying each year from malnutrition, if 11 million of children are dying every year from preventable diseases, if over a billion people have no safe water to drink, what kind of good can we possibly expect for the future? How to change and how to start writing a new page in our history? My humble suggestion is that our heart is the perfect starting place. We have to help each other to become more aware of the immense power each one of us has in rethinking the world starting from the smallest things and decisions in our daily life. When this will begin to happen, it will really be a good year to remember. This is my best wish in 2012.