Beyond Reasonable Greed:
Why Sustainable Business is a Much Better Idea!
Book by Wayne Visser and Clem Sunter
“Greed is good”. Remember the phrase immortalised by Michael Douglas who played Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie Wall Street? Well, the world has more than lived up to these words by pursuing the principle that excessive greed is even better.
In an analysis of the principles driving modern business, Wayne Visser and Clem Sunter demonstrate that the predatory behaviour of the lion is symbolic of the way most companies are run today. But the world cannot go on like this. They argue strongly for an alternative and more positive vision involving sustainable business in both a social and an environmental sense. In order to achieve this, companies will need to change – as they call it ‘shape-shift’ – from the tooth-and-claw logic of lions to the more caring, holistic philosophy of the elephant.
The authors offer two scenarios for the medium to long term: Oases in the Desert where the corporate lions continue to rule, but their kingdoms are increasingly restricted by their own destructive behaviour and popular discontent; and Plains of the Serengeti where companies shapeshift into elephants which strive for a proper balance between cooperation and competition and a continuing diversity of species, large and small, strong and weak. The conclusion of the book is that multilevel shapeshifting is required for sustainability.
Apart from corporate transformation, it is up to governments on the one hand and each and every one of us as individuals on the other to adopt the persona of an elephant in order to pass on a worthwhile heritage to our children. Keep your trunks crossed!
Title: Beyond Reasonable Greed: Why Sustainable Business is a Much Better Idea!
Authors: Wayne Visser and Clem Sunter
Publishers: Tafelberg Human & Rousseau, 2002
Citation: Visser, W. & C. Sunter (2002) Beyond Reasonable Greed: Why Sustainable Business is a Much Better Idea, Cape Town: Tafelberg Human & Rousseau
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