In the introduction of conscious capitalism, John Mackey gives us a brief history on how he established Safer Way which is now known as Whole Foods Market with no prior business education background. His intention was to create a business that was ethical and purpose driven. His insight on free enterprise capitalism is much focused throughout the introduction and first chapter, its importance and how it has changed the world. I agree with the findings because, it free enterprise capitalism has led to innovations and social cooperation that any other system.
It has freed millions of individuals from extreme poverty and enabled businesses to open up around the world that have contributed to the welfare of humanity. Raj Sisodia, the co-author of the book together with Mackey, have pursued to change the way business is thought about, taught and practiced through their movement. This is both noble and I believe it’s our human responsibility to find solutions to the world and innovations that can take us to the next phase of how business is done.
Capitalism has been misunderstood and has been tagged with bad titles such as crony capitalism, profit maximization for investors as top priority and unethical business activities as inferred by products from its activity. Crony capitalism is one of the most tagged names of big corporations because they have the financial resources to corrupt and bribe the government and inturn use this power for their own enrichment.
Although the above examples are true and real, conscious capitalism is able to resolve this issue by ensuring that businesses not only focus on profit maximization but in creating value for all its stakeholders. Examples of how it does this, is by strongly opposing greed, exploitation, manipulation and by building environments based on trust and love that positively transform the world. Business are good because they create value, they are ethical because they are based on voluntary exchange.
The book provides turning points in history that were made possible by free capitalism, examples include the fall of the berlin wall on November 9, 1989, which brought about the end of communist regimes and the birth of the web by Tim Berners in 1989 which has brought about access to unlimited information and has connected almost everyone in the world with social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
No known business is in isolation; all exist and have interaction with people in different environments in their pursuit of profit maximization. In rder to do this and create more value for all its stakeholders we are introduced to the four tenets of conscious capitalism, they include higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership and conscious culture. First and foremost the reason I agree with Conscious capitalism is that they are subjected to the discipline of the market and they need to deliver strong financial results just as any other business however, they do this by doing what is right because it is right Secondly, I agree with John Mackey is his description of a business based on conscious capitalism by using imagination.
Imagine a business based on love and caring whose team member are passionate and committed to their work; a business that cares profoundly about wellbeing of its customers and above all a business exists in a virtuous cycle of multifaceted value creation, generating social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, cultural and physical wealth for everyone. John Mackey ends this description with giving examples of businesses that exist with such a description, from Google to Starbucks to the container store; this proves that conscious capitalism does exist in reality and therefore it can be achieved.
Traditional businesses tend to use corporate social responsibility as a defensive mechanism and to build its reputation with external stakeholders. I solely agree that CSR mindset should be built in to the core of the business because it integrates the interests of all stakeholders and incorporates higher purpose and caring culture. An example is Google, with its Google grant donation program awarding free Ad Words advertising to select charitable organizations; this is centrally aligned with its business.
Another example is Johnson and Johnson, its purpose is to alleviate pain and suffering however remains focused in making profits to ensure sustainability and growth. Thirdly, I also agree with the statement that happiness cannot be pursued unless for short term gratification. True happiness comes from living a life of meaning and purpose, which I believe goes the same for businesses. If a business pursues achieving its purpose then happiness will be achieved through satisfaction of all stakeholders.
Matching individual purpose with business purpose is one of the ways to enhance passion for work and increase performance. This also makes it easier for team members to overcome challenges with ease. In conclusion, although some of his view on some issues such as reduction in violence levels and majority becoming aware of consuming healthier foods is brought about by conscious capitalism is contentious generally I agree with his thought. By aligning business in a set of four categories the good, the true, the beautiful, the heroic.
Conscious businesses should strive to provide service to its stakeholders that improve the quality of life such as Wholefoods in its endeavor of providing food products that are healthy to consume; they should be in the forefront of furthering human knowledge by being innovative and researching on better products or services for their customers, an example is Google; they have been able to create a way to access any information in the internet by a click of a button and last but not least a business should be heroic, the courage to do what is right to change and improve the world an example given is Grameen bank in India that has been able to empower poor people in the eradication of extreme poverty. Finally, as businesses pursue profit maximization they should also strive to discover and grow in their purpose; this is the only way they can be able to wholesomely create value for all stakeholders and adapt to an ever changing and developing world.