Blackspot

Spiritual capitalism

Can the bottom line be replaced by caring for others?

I know thoughts of meditating in boardrooms and choir sessions in the lunch room come to mind, but try not to take "spiritual capitalism" so literally. Carleen Hawn from Ode Magazine explains what spiritual capitalism means:

"...the success of an enterprise is measured by values like “integrity” and “commitment” as much as by targets like “efficiency” and “profitability.” It’s based on the recognition that every businessperson—whether you’re the CEO of a major multinational or the head of your own small firm—is in the service industry, and the services rendered must benefit not just yourself and your shareholders, but the planet and other people as well. The first commandment of the growing spiritual-capitalism movement is: Taking care of business means taking care of others."
Azim Jamal - Corporate Sufi

Inspirational speaker Azim Jamal has another term for CEO with ethics and a conscience, a Corporate Sufi.

Whatever you like to call it, buddha in the boardroom, spiritual capitalism, corporate sufi, or jesus businessmen, the question still remains the same:

Can we shift the entire system from profitability and the bottom line to taking care of others and the environment? And if so, is it solely in the hands of the CEO's, or do the people of a company have any power to bring about this change?

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16 comments on the article “Spiritual capitalism”

Displaying 1 - 10 of 16

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Drew Shapter

I think this aproach is already working for some companies, Innocent Smoothies in the UK have a very altruistic brand image. They take care to listen to their consumers and take a lead in activities that involve and empower communities. For instance they organise and run Summer Fetes, which are an integral part of the British summer (along with rain) in rural, urban and suburban communities. By running these events it helps to take the financial pressure off local charities and businesses, whilst still allowing them to take part. The event is not seen as an overbranded product push (like so many sponsored events) and it really helps the brand to build trust with its consumers. Of course not everyone sees it like this and of profit does ultimately drive the event, but I for one am impressed by the business model.

Drew Shapter

I think this aproach is already working for some companies, Innocent Smoothies in the UK have a very altruistic brand image. They take care to listen to their consumers and take a lead in activities that involve and empower communities. For instance they organise and run Summer Fetes, which are an integral part of the British summer (along with rain) in rural, urban and suburban communities. By running these events it helps to take the financial pressure off local charities and businesses, whilst still allowing them to take part. The event is not seen as an overbranded product push (like so many sponsored events) and it really helps the brand to build trust with its consumers. Of course not everyone sees it like this and of profit does ultimately drive the event, but I for one am impressed by the business model.

Anonymous

Great question! This is a question I've been toiling with, as well. I think, for sustainable change to happen, motivation has to come from the people. If the head of the CEO is the only person concerned with helping others and the environment, his/her job is much more difficult. He/she will end up harming him/her self in the process of trying to control others. I'm not saying that collective action is easy to achieve given people with different backgrounds, but if we keep our eyes on the goal (e.g. taking care of each other and the environment) we can achieve success. I think the CEO has to be the major contributer in motivating his/her employees, but not the only contributing person. Change isn't easy, but change for the better must be done. I think Mr. Azim Jamal has a good point that no matter what religion we are, we come from the same source. If we keep remembering those words...that we are ultimately climbing the same mountain, we can achieve great things. I can see change for the better happening when people forget about their petty differences and work for something better, something larger than their individual selves. Working to take care of each other and the environment is that "something better". We can make it happen...we just need to be reminded. What do you think?

Anonymous

Great question! This is a question I've been toiling with, as well. I think, for sustainable change to happen, motivation has to come from the people. If the head of the CEO is the only person concerned with helping others and the environment, his/her job is much more difficult. He/she will end up harming him/her self in the process of trying to control others. I'm not saying that collective action is easy to achieve given people with different backgrounds, but if we keep our eyes on the goal (e.g. taking care of each other and the environment) we can achieve success. I think the CEO has to be the major contributer in motivating his/her employees, but not the only contributing person. Change isn't easy, but change for the better must be done. I think Mr. Azim Jamal has a good point that no matter what religion we are, we come from the same source. If we keep remembering those words...that we are ultimately climbing the same mountain, we can achieve great things. I can see change for the better happening when people forget about their petty differences and work for something better, something larger than their individual selves. Working to take care of each other and the environment is that "something better". We can make it happen...we just need to be reminded. What do you think?

Javier

Come on now! "Buddha in the boardroom"? "Corporate Sufi"? "Jesus businessmen"?? "spiritual capitalism"??!

Is this serious?

Marx would be rolling in his grave (well, moreso than he already is, and has been for 125 years). I'm quite shocked that Adbusters, of all magazines, would run an article of this sort. Maybe the FT--perhaps the Economist... But Adbusters? And then, the FT/Economist would do so only as an oblique recognition of the severity of the problems our world currently faces.

Anyone who entertains the notion that pseudo-religious rhetoric should be used to shore up global oligarchical power that is perpetuating mass suffering and destroying our world should read Ali Shariati's _Religion vs. Religion_, among other works. Doing so, I think, would help us to realize what a charade such discourse is.

We have to realize that it is precisely capitalism that has played a fundamental part in repressing our care for others and in raping the Earth, and that continuing to employ it toward the (supposed) ends of social harmony and ecological balance is beyond absurd.

Javier

Come on now! "Buddha in the boardroom"? "Corporate Sufi"? "Jesus businessmen"?? "spiritual capitalism"??!

Is this serious?

Marx would be rolling in his grave (well, moreso than he already is, and has been for 125 years). I'm quite shocked that Adbusters, of all magazines, would run an article of this sort. Maybe the FT--perhaps the Economist... But Adbusters? And then, the FT/Economist would do so only as an oblique recognition of the severity of the problems our world currently faces.

Anyone who entertains the notion that pseudo-religious rhetoric should be used to shore up global oligarchical power that is perpetuating mass suffering and destroying our world should read Ali Shariati's _Religion vs. Religion_, among other works. Doing so, I think, would help us to realize what a charade such discourse is.

We have to realize that it is precisely capitalism that has played a fundamental part in repressing our care for others and in raping the Earth, and that continuing to employ it toward the (supposed) ends of social harmony and ecological balance is beyond absurd.

t.v.assassin

As an eternal optimist, I believe a turnaround is not only possible, it is inherently inevitable. The sea of corporate greed is beginning to dry up and more and more people are wanting to be a part of this new brand of capitalism. If the lifestyles of people belonging to poor or developing nations were strewn across Western t.v. screens on an everyday basis, the true colors of capitalism would be too vivid to ignore. The war on independence and selfishness will take unparallelled synergy and a firepower never before wielded, rivaling the unity of the architects and visionaries who built the pyramids in Egypt. From the bottom, all the way to the top rungs of the corporate ladder, collaboration is the fuel of the coming international revolution.

t.v.assassin

As an eternal optimist, I believe a turnaround is not only possible, it is inherently inevitable. The sea of corporate greed is beginning to dry up and more and more people are wanting to be a part of this new brand of capitalism. If the lifestyles of people belonging to poor or developing nations were strewn across Western t.v. screens on an everyday basis, the true colors of capitalism would be too vivid to ignore. The war on independence and selfishness will take unparallelled synergy and a firepower never before wielded, rivaling the unity of the architects and visionaries who built the pyramids in Egypt. From the bottom, all the way to the top rungs of the corporate ladder, collaboration is the fuel of the coming international revolution.

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