There was a time, not so long back when it was socially acceptable to run a business using slaves. Then we became a little more civilized.
We entered a period where child labour and poor working conditions were acceptable. Then we became a little more civilized.
For a while, it was acceptable to pay very low salaries and give no time off. Then we became a little more civilized.
Now we live in an evolving world where business used to only need worry about all the above if it is was directly involved. Now however, it is becoming increasing more important to ensure that their supply chain meets these criteria too.
However, once we achieve a point where businesses have met these criteria, from the sourcing of raw materials to the end consumer, does this make business civilized?
I would argue we still have a way to go…
As Jacque Fresco points out, we do not yet live in a civilized world. If we did there would be no need for police, prisons, and unemployment centers. There would be no war, no poverty, and no starvation. We may be more civilized than many of our ancestors, but a lighter shade of black does not make it white.
How many businesses currently operate by taking business away from someone else, often without providing a better product or quality of service? We would not think of doing this to a good friend, but so long as we are not friends with the ‘competition’, then it is considered acceptable. Even if we have more than enough for ourselves, and we might put our competitor out of business (leaving his family, and his staff’s families, to go without).
How many businesses destroy the planet more than they need to, simply to add a little more profit to the bottom line?
How many businesses actively seek to try and create more sustainable ways to operate, especially when there are no financial gains to be had?
No, the way we conduct business today is not civilized. We have a long way to go. But like with each shift of business consciousness before, there are those who lead the way before the masses follow; and eventually a new acceptable standard is set.
My call to you is this: Be one of those few. Stand up and dare to be different. Start a revolution in thinking and attitudes, and help take us another step closer to becoming a civilized world.