Academic journal article Competition Forum

Re-Framing Competitiveness, Values for the 21st Century Global Society: A Perspective

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Re-Framing Competitiveness, Values for the 21st Century Global Society: A Perspective

Article excerpt


It is said that the financial crisis of 2008 and that of its aftermath is not a cyclical but a structural crisis: that the model itself is in crisis and that it is broken.

Many assert that the global financial system has become disconnected from the real economy and that, consequently, financial risks that can and have spilled over from the financial sphere, maximizing profit through the creation of ever more creative instruments and generating societal risk, do no harm.

Additionally, our modern society is embedded in a global economy, which itself has become a global finance infra -structure system. It is argued by many that the current state of global finance, or worse, the global economy, needs to be de-coupled from the interconnected global economy to better serve national and regional interest. If so, how would this be achieved?

One commonly presented solution is that the global banking system must be brought to act transparently and ethically by providing responsible financing for economically viable and socially sustainable projects. Or, as has often been suggested, greater layers of governance that would ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of the moment.

I offer another approach. How about re-framing the issues of financial and economic competitiveness within the context of a different set of values? It's important that we think beyond good governance to that of a more comprehensive set of values. As in, how should we relate to one and other as members of the global community? And, how do we seek to live, learn and work within civil societies?

My work with developing the concept of Universal Sustainability (with Ann Lee-Jeffs, corporate director, Honeywell Corporation) is at the core. The primary assumption of Universal Sustainability

is the need to expand with trust across regions of the globe, segments of society, and sectors of the economy. It's important that we rethink the underlying assumptions regarding the economy in general, and the definition of global capitalism, in particular. A rethink is now in order to reform and restructure the direction of organizations as they interact globally to consider how governments relate and provide for their citizens and how policymakers establish regulations that impact the allocation of resources globally. I believe that the renewed focus on the next form of capitalism, within this discipline of Universal Sustainability, will speed the progress for responsible investment, profitability, and global sustainability.

Another premise found in the meaning of Universal Sustainability, is the creation of a culture as a global human community that contains shared values and shared responsibilities. It is my belief that we as a society cannot establish sustainable societies without understanding and valuing the human diversity that is contained within. For it is this value that we place on human dignity, that in the end, may unleash the creativity and innovation that is so needed currently.

The complex issues that do and will confront us as a global society will require that we progress beyond the bias of individual prejudice to that of the welcoming of diversity, the acceptance of global diversity in all of it s forms, and within the full range of thinking, idea formation, and human cultural awareness.

I would suggest that the early result of implementing Universal Sustainability is to connect competitive organizations and integrate their strategic intents and processes within social programming, such as using the Social Indicators for Progress measures, the Human Development Index criteria, toward the design of more sustainable economies that would address such issues as the origins of poverty, prosperity and environment.


"As we peer into society's future, we, you and I, and our government, must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. …

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