I heard someone say the other day that one of his friends doesn’t support my Congressional candidacy because I’m “anti-business.” I thought that was almost funny, given the fact that I’ve signed a few book contracts, published a few bestsellers, received a few royalties and put on a few seminars. I wouldn’t say I’ve avoided business.
I understand the high side of capitalism, which is fair and equal exchange. If I create value (say, a book) and you pay me a dollar for it, then both of us walk away with more abundance than before. That’s a good thing. I see it as aligned with the values of nature.
But in the words of Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, “Free market capitalism cannot survive outside an ethical context.” I do appreciate capitalism; what I don’t appreciate is its predatory form (I do whatever it takes to squeeze as much money as possible out of you, while giving back the least amount of value) that has emerged so mightily over the last few decades. I don’t see the multinational corporate cancer now eating our civilization as a form of “business.” I see it as a perversion of business, because it is a perversion of human ethics.
There is an uprising in business consciousness among businesspeople as well as in everyone else– groups like Conscious Capitalism come to mind – that is taking business, and capitalism, into a higher mindset. They are evolving its primary ethos from greed to service.
Cells in the body don’t just actualize; they collaborate. And so should we. Business, to me, should be a mighty collaboration on behalf of something bigger than all of us. And cells that do not collaborate are called cancer; they go off to do their own thing, without regard for the larger whole of which they’re a part, thus threatening to destroy the entire system. That is how I see healthy capitalism versus predatory capitalism; one is life-giving and one is life-destroying.
I don’t think the bottom line in business, or in anything else, should be money. I think the bottom line should be our contribution to the world. And when that is the prevailing ethic in human civilization, then everything works better -- including business.
I’m not one for having government in your face, and I think our liberty depends on constant vigilance regarding its encroachment into our lives. But if a business or business entity - in quest only for its own short-term economic gain - in doing so threatens our environment, our health or our safety, then you better believe I think it’s the government’s role to regulate its activities. I believe the government should be the balancing agent between individual liberty and the protection of the common good. If I have the honor of becoming a Congresswoman, I will be a champion for both.