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Profit Motive is the new Titanic

The twin corporate issues of sustainability and governance are not only changing the rules of the game but the game itself. They are challenging the way business has been understood since Adam Smith and they must have the likes of Milton Friedman twitching in his recently dug grave, writes Jerry Schuitema.

When the Titanic set sail from Southampton in the spring of 1912, it was more than the biggest and best passenger ship of its time. It represented both the best and the worst of contemporary society. It was the epitome of grandeur, opulence, refinement and innovation. It was also an engineering marvel and was hailed as a symbol of man’s mastery of the elements.

The Titanic - sunk by greedIt stood for the notion that out of man’s hunger for material wealth comes greatness. In its variously classed cabins were cocooned the desires, dreams, aspirations and, later, courage and cowardice of both the elite and the common people. It was the embodiment of profit-driven greed, competitiveness, pride and arrogance. These things, not the iceberg, were what sank it.

The Profit Motive has also hit an iceberg. It is foundering. The Ethics, the Sustainability, and the Good Governance are steaming to its rescue, but they can no longer save the ship. They may be just in time to save the passengers and crew from the freezing waters. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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