Crisis = Opportunity – Driving to an Ethical Society

Posted on April 1, 2009


I had the opportunity to participate on the Belgium MPI chapter meeting early February this year. The topic was Crisis = Opportunities.

3 Speakers talked about different aspects of the crisis. I’m not a economist or a sociologist, but I also do have my theories about financial and economical crisis.

As most of the business thrives to adapt and keep going in such turbulent times, it seems clear to me that the capitalism ruled by big corporations with Central Banks acting independent from states in many cases won’t change a lot. The crisis will simply sort the mess out…who are the good business and who are the bad ones, who can be sustainable, who can not. It is a great challenge, and the best will survive… corporations will keep having a lot of power and driving the economy, but at the end, the best ones will be doing it, what might represent a much stronger form of capitalism. (I hope so at least)

What I like to think is that it could be a good chance to walk towards some sort of Anarchy (I do am a sort o anarchist) where the government/estate has the only function of  fiscalazing.

My fellows at Associations Industry would certainly like it. The rules should be mainly made by the people participating on that sector… empower people to decide on their on limitations. Groups and Hierarchy will always be part, but the estate executive and legislative power is distributed back to the society, mainly to the stakeholders that are interested on that piece of the problem… more collectivism. Lets not get very philosophical on that, just let me believe on a responsible society. I’m very far to be able to say something like that would be able to exist… who would rule the economy? Completely free market? What about the countries supremacy… (in off I would say go to hell with that…take the army together, no necessity in legitimating supremacy, no need of an army.)

Well… maybe one day I will have enough to answer my own questions. So far… I will stick to one of the presenters from today. Mr. Mark Eyskens, a renowned Belgian politician. (Funny hum? I was just taking their power out on my lines above, now I’m mentioning one of them). He gives an very interesting speech coming all the way from the cold war, Communism ending, IT revolution to tell that we are not living just a simple economic crises. It is also a political revolution and a social revolution. Our democratic structures might be in the spot… like China, the world might be lead to an Autocracy type of government, that might be one solution to prevent a country to face Economical difficulties. But in the other hand, social evolutions is such, that instead, we are must likely to face the rise of an ethical society, where values as transparency and trust are key to governance, business and social development in general. You can see more about Mr. Eyskens and read his speech at It is long but it is worth the ready, his knowledge in politics, sociology, philosophy and about science in general are quite admirable… add that to a strong opinion and a very interesting point of view and you have a great text to read!

Well… the ethical society is the idea I like, that makes a lot of sense to me and where I wanted to get with this post. A deep value change in society could lead the world to a different place… that’s exciting! A society based on rightfulness rather then opportunism, mutual respect and community relevance on your actions instead of extremely high profit margins and the sort of  ‘hey! look I ‘m rich night to day (with the fair compliment of sharing a high amount of risk but…), I have 10 Ferraris on my garage…how cool I am!’ – actually I hope we get rid of those opportunist self-centered playboys in our new ethical society, waste money is not ethical anymore… I would even write a paper giving them enough arguments telling they have a high portion of world’s social scale issue, I bet loosing just to corruption. 

Lets get back to CSR now then. Again, CSR is not to make your annual report look more beautiful and have nice PR. CSR is a core business model, driving company ethics, labour rights, its relations with suppliers and consumers and in the end, the companies relevance to its community and why not to the world. Simple like that, a business who drives the community to responsible (and sustainable) development, is a necessary business, independent of what product or what service you sell. Voilá, you’re relevant, you’re necessary, your part of the society…  as much as you care for it, is as much the society care back to your business… (sounds something like sustainability for me…)

How to become a relevant company then, sitting on the drivers position leading our world to a nice Ethical Society? Guess every single business will need to figure it out that now, part of the sorting it out crises… good business, bad business…

I will try my best to find a way on the Associations Industry… I really believe associations can make a huge impact on society and drive it forwards… unfortunately, it is still a extremely slow pace industry. I keep you posted on what I find out.