The industrial definition of prosperity is optimizing the production for “more, bigger, faster, cheaper” consumption of goods and stuff. But today people’s values are shifting towards a more human definition of prosperity in which what it truly matters is to live a meaningful life, with true ...
I do have heard that from my students: "You can't fill your belly with meaning. You can't pay your bills with meaning." Nor can you fill a life with "McJunk" was my answer. What happens in a society that calls meaning a luxury? Meaning is something like a responsibility, it is not merely a need. By definition meaning goes well beyond ourselves, it goes beyond our lives and it tends towards the people around us, the people we care about, the people we love. Meaning is valuing what is worthwhile, what does matter in lasting human terms: love, care, relations, well lived lives. Malala Yousafzai the Pakistani little 14 year girl recently shot by the taliban, personifies this truth and took full responsibility of her belief (the Foreign Minister of Pakistan told on CNN she refused the protection plan from the police). With very simple and straight words, with an unmatched courage she reminds to all of us that the value of meaning is the essence of life. She gave us a great example and a direction to follow: during our daily fight to build a better and sustainable future, there is nothing more pragmatic than looking up in the sky to breath for a moment. It's a relief, not a luxury.
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 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?
BETTERNESS: Economics for Humans
The latest book by Umair Haque AVAILABLE HERE for download on PDF - Kindle - iBooks
"Betterness: Economics for Humans" is the latest book of my favorite author Umair Haque. Business as we know it has reached a state of diminishing returns: though we work harder and harder, we never seem to get anywhere. I'd like to share a quick overview of the content which you find on the link above: 1. Introduction: The Not-So-Dismal Science? 2. The Capitalist’s Paradox 3. Eudaimonia: A Better Path to Prosperity 4. Poiesis: A Better Source of Advantage 5. Arête: A Better Organization 6. Kairos: Toward a Better Paradigm Lets enjoy the reading and ACT together starting to change our own life to make the world a better place.
I did not know the meaning of the word “Eudaimonia” before reading the articles and the posts of disruptively meaningful life" where each individual is able to express and to fully develop his most authentic and genuine human potential. I believe the eudaimonic vision of a prosperity based upon what we are achieving, accomplishing, fulfilling for ourselves and for the others is a very actual and very fascinating topic. Before continuing let me clarify few things. Eudaimonia is not a religion, it is not ascetism, it is not utopia, it is not a way of life nor a naive vision of the reality. Eudaimonia cultivates depth and authenticity not the “quick and dirty” way. Eudaimonia builds and creates sustainability does not run after easy earnings. Eudaimonia is better quality against more and more quantity of poor quality. Eudaimonia is the pursuite of the most authentic and genuines wishes against the status of having and possessing. Since many decades we are living a dimension of prosperity which is characterized by a fake and dangerous promise that we’ll be happy as long as we continue to buy new stuff and new products. This is the opposite of the eudaimonic vision of prosperity and obviously it is a trap, it’s an unuseful and fruitless pursuite to what Umair Haque defined "the Opulence Bubble". One of its most devastating effects is that it makes us not just economically poorer, but it also impoverishes us spiritually, emotionally, it empties our minds. Reaching happiness within this environment is a scam which has already devastated the ecosystem of the entire planet. No wander if a deep sense of uneasiness and discomfort is spreading across the globe and it does not seem to stop. In this perspective I believe that the “we are the 99%” movement is showing up the deepest distrust against the current system and its proven inefficacy to deliver authentic, genuine human growth and a sustainable future. These people are asking to invest in human potential before anything else: before making investments in the economy, before going on with industrialization at full speed, the nations of the world, the international organizations and institutions must consider to act with the highest attention for the human beings and for the environment.