I saw a few books on “Conscious Capitalism” at The Container Store yesterday, in a display next to works by like-minded CEOs. Call me naive, but I was thrilled to see it.
I’m under no illusion that such movements attract only people who will live up to these standards. I’m sure there are a few poseurs who sign on to think about the planet as we do business while destroying everything in sight.
But what this sort of things proves is that there is a market for idealism. That market plays in a role in everything from hybrid car sales to renewable energy to living wages.
Ironically, as business recognizes this market, politicians have abandoned it. Politics is all about cynicism.
In some ways, that’s to be expected. In a country of this size, politicians wield great power. Politics also can bring about powerful emotion, and cynicism is a way of building a bulkhead between oneself and that emotion. If you can convince yourself it’s all just a game, you can’t really be hurt. But you would still expect political candidates to express some sort of positive message while the business folks plunder and pillage for profit, wouldn’t you?
Maybe the business world is a better avenue for progress in the long run. CEOs turned philanthropists have responded pretty well to the Ebola crisis. Businesses are making progress on the environment. And maybe they’ll set an example for politicians. Didn’t they used to say lawmakers would be better if they would run things as a business?