Davos, Switzerland -- The contradictions here are enormous. Many of the wealthiest people in the world are here -- and the most powerful, including heads of state. Yet there is more and more talk about values, even a yearning for them, especially in the wake of this economic crisis, which most here now believe was also a crisis of values. There is more sincere talk of the common good.
I am right now listening to a panel on "The Social Contract" and there is much encouraging talk about company's responsibilities to society and even the common good -- "doing good while doing well" and all that.
But what there has not been much conversation about is what we do when rich and powerful people and institutions act against the common good.
For example, this economic crises was not caused by all "the corporations" or even all "the banks." It was a crisis sparked by about six banks! Particular bank leaders from particular banks made some risky, short term, selfish and greedy decisions. So how do we name that, and them, and tell them they need to change their behavior, or hold them accountable for it and make new rules and, yes, laws that don't let them do it again.
Unless all our talk about "values" changes bad behaviors, we are just talking.
More:Davos 2011 Economic Crisis Corporation And The Common Good The Social Contract World Economic Forum
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