- Written by: Kamran Mofid
- Hits: 5514
The Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) is happy to acknowledge and honour the Global Oneness Day, 24 October 2011. A day dedicated to shifting our understanding of who we are and the very foundations of our world - scientifically, politically, economically and spiritually. As noted by those in search of wisdom, for a very long time now, we've constructed a new world based on our sense of separation, leading to endless wars, racism, xenophobia, oppression, gender battles, and pseudo politics and economics. What if, we instead build a new world from the principles of oneness, dialogue of civilisations and consideration for the common good?
It is in this spirit that the brief synopsis below is offered for your reflection and contemplation.
Many sages, philosophers and theologians throughout history have reminded us that there are two forces at work in society, the material and the spiritual. If either of these two is neglected or ignored they will appear to be at odds with one another: society will inevitably becomes fragmented, divisions and rifts will manifest themselves with increasing force and frequency.
It is clear that this is exactly what has happened today. We have a situation of disequilibrium and disharmony. Only the reawakening of the human spirit will save us from our own worst extremes. Physical wealth must go hand in hand with spiritual, moral and ethical wealth.
Since the collapse of the financial, banking and economic sectors, many articles, papers and books have already been written on why such scandals took place, on what went wrong. However, these analysis, by and large, are mostly on economics of the crisis and in turn suggest economic- only- solutions. But as we can most clearly see, the more economic tools are employed, the deeper the crisis have become.
Those with a more spiritual disposition, with an eye on common sense, they all agree on the role of one vital element in all these crises: dishonesty fuelled by greed. We forget at our own peril that honesty and greed are essentially spiritual and moral issues. Furthermore, they know that no part of human life can operate without these values, not least the sphere of business, commerce, media and government.
The greed-motivated neo-liberal capitalist world is out of control. Perhaps it is time for us to redefine our values by acknowledging that the marketplace is not just an economic sphere, ‘it is a region of the human spirit’.
Although self-interest and economic considerations are an important source of human motivation, driving the decisions we make in the marketplace every day, those decisions nevertheless have a moral, ethical and spiritual dimension, because each decision we make affects not only ourselves but others too.
Spiritual Crisis: What is to be done?
Living happily is “the desire of us all, but our minds is blinded to a clear vision of just what it is that makes life happy”. The root of happiness is ethical behaviour, and thus the ancient idea of moral education and cultivation, is essential to the ideal of joyfulness.
We must recognise that our economic problems are closely linked to our spiritual problems and vice versa. Moreover, socio-economic justice, sustainability, peace and harmony will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is recognised and much valued. A necessary step in this journey of self-discovery is to discover, promote and live for the common good. The principle of the common good reminds us that we are all really responsible for each other - we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers - and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realise their potential.
In order to arrive at such understanding, my first recommendation is for us to embody the core values of the Golden Rule (Ethic of Reciprocity): “Do unto others as you would have them to do to you”. This in turn will prompt us on a journey of discovery, giving life to what many consider to be the most consistent moral teaching throughout history.
In all, the focus of economics should be on the benefit and bounty that the economy produces, on how to let this bounty increase, and how to share the benefits justly among the people for the common good, removing the obstacles that hinder this process. Above all else the purpose of the economy should be to provide basic human needs as well as the means of establishing, maintaining, and nurturing human relationships while dealing justly with future generations (sustainability) and ethically with all life on earth (ecological balance).
Here we should recall the wisdom of Adam Smith, “father of modern economics”, who was a great moral philosopher first and foremost. In 1759, sixteen years before his famous Wealth of Nations, he published The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which explored the self-interested nature of man and his ability nevertheless to make moral decisions based on factors other than selfishness. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith laid the early groundwork for economic analysis, but he embedded it in a broader discussion of social justice and the role of government. Today we mainly know only of his analogy of the ‘invisible hand’ and refer to him as defending free markets; whilst ignoring his insight that the pursuit of wealth should not take precedence over social and moral obligations, and his belief that a ‘divine Being’ gives us ‘the greatest quantity of happiness’. We are taught that the free market as a ‘way of life’ appealed to Adam Smith but not that he distrusted the morality of the market as a morality for society at large. He neither envisioned nor prescribed a capitalist society, but rather a ‘capitalist economy within society, a society held together by communities of non-capitalist and non-market morality’. As it has been noted, morality for Smith included neighbourly love, an obligation to practice justice, a norm of financial support for the government ‘in proportion to [one’s] revenue’, and a tendency in human nature to derive pleasure from the good fortune and happiness of other people.
In summary, with each passing day, it is also increasingly evident in every corner of our world that great change is upon us and that by standing together in mutual respect, honour and dignity for one another, we will answer this call with creative, viable and sustainable solutions.
We must take the necessary steps now to reach out to our fellow humans and extend our hand in forgiveness, acceptance and genuine friendship. Our choices will be made from compassion while embracing the richness of our amazing diversity. The love and acceptance we have for ourselves will be the source of our strength to assist others. Together we can and will make a difference through dialogue of civilisations, principle of Oneness and consideration of the common good.
The vision and direction as depicted above is the correct and the right path. This is so, as hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, employed and unemployed, black and white, men and women, they all came together in a continuing and lasting global oneness, dialogue of civilisations and consideration for the common good on Saturday 15 October 2011, in thousand cities, 82 countries and six continents, from Zuccotti Park in New York, to St. Paul’s in London; Frankfurt to Madrid, Wall Street to Athens, Rome to Sydney and more, demanding a better, kinder and more humane world, the very same values that all the wise people and committed civil societies have been championing from the very long time.
Look around you; do you see an alternative path? In the wise words of the Persian sage and poet, Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.”
- Written by: Kamran Mofid
- Hits: 4594
This year I attended my eighth Rhodes Forum. I cannot begin to express how inspiring and rewarding our Rhodes Forum 2011 has been for me and all other participants and delegates. We all left the Forum much energized and hopeful for a better future for our troubled world. We engaged with each other and debated many issues and challenges and we all discovered how the WPFDC is so well placed to provide the solutions needed to guide us to a better world. Of course the icing on the cake for me was when our good friend, Prof. Fred Dallmayr, addressed us all as the new Co-Chairman of the WPFDC.
This year’s Forum was very special for me. I was very much blessed to be involved with the Forum in different ways and capacity, wearing my different hats. One, I was there as the member of the WPFDC International Coordinating Committee (ICC). Two, I was the co-convener of the Panel 5 (Education) along with my learned friend and colleague, Prof. Nur Kirabaev. I thank all our panellists and participants for making our panel such a resounding success.
Then, I was invited to make a presentation on the economics of family values and the recent riots in England at the Family Roundtable. This was followed by the invitation to make a presentation on globalisation, education and the role of civil societies at the German-Russian Forum, as well as my presentation at the Concluding Plenary Panel on Sunday. Then, on Tuesday I was invited by Rhodes Youth Forum to reflect together on the current global challenges and the possible path to move forward to build a better world.
These presentations gave me a great opportunity to discuss, first-hand, with many participants. One thing became very clear to me: we are all searching for the values that are so destructively missing from our world. The values that their absence has brought us all such a bitter harvest. Everywhere I went, everybody I spoke with, told me how worried and concern they are that there is no sense of the value of anything or anyone beyond price, profit, earnings and bonuses.
In all these meetings I heard the anger and concerns of a great number of people, on issues such as corporate greed, corruption, dishonesty, lack of trust and integrity, the youth unemployment, job insecurity, environmental degradation, wars, terrorism, education, healthcare, housing which have all become more and more inaccessible. I heard the concerns about our common future, the failure of globalisation, the failings of our political, economic, business, banking and educational leadership, as well as the demise of traditional and trusted family values and principles.
All whom I met and I engaged with want to see a life of meaning, a life of respect, trust and dialogue. They want to see a world guided by moral compass, kindness, generosity, giving, sharing, sympathy, empathy, humility, peace and justice. They want a life that is for the common good and a life of dialogue of civilisations. And most importantly they all saw that the WPFDC is giving them hope, is providing the necessary and needed vision and mission, so that together we may build a world that is just, progressive and prosperous for all.
The WPFDC’s vision and direction is the correct and the right path. This is so, as hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, employed and unemployed, black and white, man and woman, they all came together in a continuing global dialogue of civilisations on Saturday 15 October 2011, in thousand cities, 82 countries and six continents demanding a better, kinder and more humane world, the very same values that the WPFDC has been championing from the very first day.
I am sure we are all eagerly looking forward to our Rhodes Forum 2012, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Forum, our contributions and achievements.
With each passing day, it is also increasingly evident in every corner of our world that great change is upon us and that by standing together in mutual respect, honour and dignity for one another, we will answer this call with creative, viable and sustainable solutions.
We must take the necessary steps now to reach out to our fellow humans and extend our hand in forgiveness, acceptance and genuine friendship. Our choices shall be made from compassion while embracing the richness of our amazing diversity. The love and acceptance we have for ourselves will be the source of our strength to assist others. Together we can and will make a difference through dialogue and the common good.
- Written by: Kamran Mofid
- Hits: 3728
An Invitation from Prof. Kamran Mofid
Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative, UK
Prof. Jamshid Damooei
Director, Centre for Leadership and Values, California Lutheran University, USA
Given your deep commitment to education for responsible business and a sustainable economy, we are writing to seek your kind advice regarding the proposed "Sustainable Business Education Initiative."
We are seeking your support and input in launching the following initiative:"The Common Good Business Council for Sustainable Business Education (CGBCSBE)"
Our initiative is influenced by very different values and concerns from those of the recent past. The (CGBCSBE) is a distinctive and innovative model for business, economics, finance and management education, transforming paradigms and priorities in the student experience, curriculum and education process.
The world has changed considerably since the time when business studies and the MBA programmes were first introduced. With climate change, population growth, resource depletion and social change becoming of much greater importance to business leaders, time is now to revisit the business education in general and the MBAs in particular. Businesses need to develop more sustainable strategies, and this requires value-led leadership, innovation and transformational change. To train and educate a new generation of leaders with the understanding and skills required to think and act more strategically and responsibly in order to build successful, profitable and sustainable businesses which have a positive impact on the environment and society, requires a different set of goals, vision, mission and values.
Motivation: The universities and business schools have not - by and large - risen to the challenge of providing a sound business education that awakens students to their responsibilities not only to shareholders, but to their workforce, society and the environment. Whilst there may be some individual contributions in this direction, they have been insufficient to create the required collective impact. It is high time for the business school’s community to come together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation for the common good, to organise a collective effort towards this goal.
We are writing to invite you to become a founding member of this initiative, enabling us to begin a constructive and fruitful debate, so that together we may take a first step towards this goal, recognising the need to establish an educational, as well as organisational structure, to include all relevant stakeholders in the business and business education community as our joint efforts gain momentum and speed.
Our hope is that this initiative will bring together various groups and individuals who see the necessity of joining hands and building alliances in support of promoting business education with social responsibility. We hope that you would agree that our time calls for bold actions and leaves no room for apathy and indifference. Our vision of promoting business education with social consciousness is to create a large tent and an umbrella that can bring educators, activists, educational institutions, and people of good intentions who refute commercialization of education and believe in the value of an educational system that can contribute to the quality of human life.
Our action is rooted in our hope for a better educational system that emanates from formation of morally and politically enlightened and active academia. We know that such academia do not come out of a vacuum and we need a sustained political debate and activism that can bring such changes in our politics in general and politics of education in particular.
We are very much looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience, so that together we can document the "Vision", "Mission", "Objectives", and the "Purpose" of our initiative and take the necessary steps to launch the project.
Kamran Mofid and Jamshid Damooei