By George Anderson
Patricia Aburdene, the author of Megatrends 2010, wants everyone in business to know that Gordon Gekko had it wrong. Greed is not good. In fact, if anything can kill capitalism, rampant greed would be it.
Ms. Aburdene is not predicting the demise of capitalism anytime soon. If anything, Megatrends 2010 concludes that an increased emphasis on spirituality and moral values is remaking capitalism.
“People no longer want that spiritual part of themselves to be abandoned when they work and are searching for meaning and morals in the workplace,” the author told USA Today. “Corporate leaders now recognize that we live in a technologically based society where, in order to be consistently innovative, a corporation has to draw on the creativity of its employees.”
As to the sole purpose of business being to make money, the author answered: “We’ve now become conscious of the uncalculated social, economic, and environmental costs of that kind of ‘unconscious’ capitalism – many are beginning to practice a form of ‘conscious capitalism,’ which involves integrity and higher standards, and in which companies are responsible not just to shareholders, but also to employees, consumers, suppliers, and communities. Some call it ‘stakeholder capitalism.’ “
And for the fictional character of Gordon Gekko and the real life proponents of his “greed is good” philosophy: “We need to graduate from the ridiculous notion that greed is some kind of elixir for capitalism – it’s the downfall of capitalism. Self-interest, maybe, but self-interest run amok does not serve anyone. The core value of conscious capitalism is enlightened self-interest. As Jim Cramer on CNBC says, ‘Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.'”
Moderator’s Comment: Patrician Aburdene says the focus on spirituality is the single most influential megatrend in the U.S. today. Do you agree with
this position? What does it mean for the way retailers and others conduct business? What will it mean for the way consumers make purchasing decisions from the grocery store to
From USA Today, here are the major trends identified by Ms. Aburdene in Megatrends 2010:
- The Power of Spirituality
- The Dawn of Conscious Capitalism
- Leading from the Middle [Management]
- Spirituality in Business
- The Values-Driven Consumer
- The Wave of Conscious Solutions
- The Socially Responsible Investment Boom.