This past weekend, I found myself looking forward. The ongoing of extremes of wealth and poverty cannot win; it cannot be sustained. That was and is my thinking. I am a fan of the ideals of the Olympics… and the coming together of the world. Still, recently I came across this post speaking of the extremes in this world in which we live.
I am attracted to the words of Abdu’l-Baha who said, “Wealth is praiseworthy in the highest degree, if it is acquired by an individual’s own efforts and the grace of God, in commerce, agriculture, art and industry, and if it be expended for philanthropic purposes.” Whatever your faith or none, there is wisdom in the essential message here. I may lose some people on this but what is the purpose of an economic system? Is it the advancement of prosperity? If so, for whom? Can real and lasting prosperity exist where there are incredible extremes of wealth and poverty? Is this sustainable? Can injustice be sustained over the long haul? What does history prove of such systems?
Some years back, I learned that the human body thrives on synergy and balance. If you work one arm consistently to the detriment of working out the other, that one arm will apparently only grow so strong. Yet, by working both arms, the limits to strength achieved are considerably higher. I contend the same is true of economics. As customers are more prosperous, so are the sellers of goods and services.
There will always be differences in wealth. That is my belief and contention. But, it is also my belief and contention that extremes in those differences are not conducive for true peace or prosperity. Merit matters, but so so does mercy and meaning. Economic systems should reward hard work and initiative; but to a degree. Sooner or later, wealth simply begets wealth and the playing ground is characterized by injustice.
So, if you are still with me, consider these virtues.
Which do we most need to practice to advance communities of universal prosperity, accepting differences in wealth but refusing the extremes of wealth and poverty? Which virtues must characterize such a system in business, at work, in school and in community… locally and globally?
I am encouraging you to have those conversations in the classroom, staff room, boardroom and beyond. This is not a campaign against wealth; it is one to advance it. Remember we are building both arms.
- What virtues do we need manifest to produce systems driven both by merit and justice?
- What practices do we need to manifest those virtues such that they are woven into our organizational DNA?
- What will be the return on that investment? For us all?
In dialoguing on these together, we will start to find answers to advance sustaining and sustainable…
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™
Barry is ultimately a strength coach. His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness. That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™. EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.
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