Test Testy

Friday, July 31, 2009

Can we think differently

As an ISB classmate put it, what I gained after ISB is perspective about life. I am reproducing a small reading from ET for you, which I found different and interesting. Do read it and leave your comments, if any

Benjamin Friedman

OUR conventional thinking about economic growth fails to reflect the breadth of what growth, or its absence, means for a society. We recognise, of course, the advantages of a higher material standard of living, and we appreciate them. But moral thinking, in practically every known culture, enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. We are also increasingly aware that economic development — industrialisation in particular, and more recently globalisation — often brings undesirable side effects, like damage to the environment or the homogenisation of what used to be distinctive cultures, and we have come to regard these matters too in moral terms. On both counts, we think of economic growth in terms of material considerations versus moral ones: we weigh material positives against moral negatives.
I believe this thinking is seriously, in some circumstances dangerously, incomplete. The value of a rising standard of living lies not just in the concrete improvements it brings to how individuals live but in how it shapes the social, political, and ultimately the moral character of a people.
Economic growth, a rising standard of living for the clear majority of citizens, more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy... when living standards decline, most societies make little if any progress toward any of these goals, and in all too many instances they plainly retrogress.

My Comments: From a micro perspective, economic growth is relevant only till the survival goals os a human being are met post which over focus on economic growth slowly grows into an excess. However corporations/firms are created mainly to drive economic growth, expecting anything else creates distortions but then we need to know what level of importance we need to give them in the modern society. Do we want our civilization to be known as the one that printed money and got lost in that mirage?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Business Ethics

This post is an outcome of a random chat with an acquaintance. The random chat after the initial rounds of pleasantries moved towards a controversial topic, which is Business Ethics. Phrases like "healthy competition," "drama of bidding," "business ethics are not applicable for every thing you do," "if i talk about ethics i wont grow," etc were freely used to justify the way contractors engage actively to form a cartel. I tried to argue but then quickly realized that it is difficult to convince a person about ethics in a chat conversation, they have to built on a much stronger foundation.

This conversation also bought along with it another question - how does the current generation regard ethics and morals? In my interaction with many acquaintances, I generally found that people are generally good by nature and would want to help others but then when it comes to things such as ethics that are created by humanity while creating the society, opinions swing widely. But I can clearly say from my past experience that sticking to certain basic principles and ethics is NPV positive in the long-term and long-term means a time horizon of 2-5 years. Many times who take shortcuts quickly loose out but then they never realize that it is their deeds that resulted in their side-tracking; rather they keep blaming luck, situation and unfairness around, which in fact they have been actively contributing to.

The person with whom I chatted also called me idealistic but then without ideals, would we have the so-called civilized society and the life that we all are trying to lead. How does it sound when two thieves divide the houses that they are going to steal and how ethical would it be if two rapists starts sharing who they would be raping next; sorry for the harsh words but then that is how I felt when the person started justifying sharing of contracts between the parties that are supposed to be competing, which is nothing but sharing public wealth (tax payers money) privately.

I have not been blogging actively, which is not because I've been very busy rather it is just the opposite. Corporate world has failed miserably in engaging me while ISB was exemplary in that. Just learned that a batch mate is joining a Phd program in US, which I think might be for similar reasons. Having spent about 5 years in Training, academics do pull me but then hardcore academics may not be for me. I'm trying to engage myself by coming up with ideas and discussing with classmates but then overcoming the laziness to develop them into full-fledged B-plans is proving to be a tough thing but I'm working on it. One of the biggest pains post-ISB has been the steady payments to be made for education loan. I am just weathering away the dull times while trying to bring in some cheer. Hope Varuna, the Indian Rain God shows some mercy on us and shower us with his blessings and the much wanted rains. Good bye