This past Monday, Business Week published an interesting piece entitled Karma Capitalism, exploring how various elements of Indian religion and philosophy are reincarnating as popular themes in modern management thinking. This may appear, at first glance, to be a remarkable new development, but, actually, it’s merely a new face on an old one. . .
A system of management theory, like any other edifice, requires a solid foundation, or it will fall. The foundation should establish a clear reference point from which everything else is measured and built. Using this, we can simultaneously test the theoretical and practical viability of our progress. In Karma Capitalism, this cornerstone appears to be purpose, or social justice. But what, exactly, are those?
In the course of examining the emerging management approach that has been referred to as “Karma Capitalism,” we have been trying to test it against two questions that should give us an idea of how robust a system of thought this really is. The first question posed is this . . .
In the last two posts, we examined the solidity of the foundation upon which rests the Karma Capitalist philosophy, and found it wanting. It lacks a clearly enunciated statement of its starting position and goal, satisfying itself with substance-less platitudes such as “social justice” in order to move directly to a set of behaviors and guidelines for managers to use to perceive themselves and direct their actions. We concluded that in the absence of a strong and sensible foundation (that is, one the substantial, meaningful presence of which can be continuously felt by those relying on it), the edifice was doomed to fall at the first shock, or ultimately of its own accord. But that’s not the only problem. . .
Capitalism gets a bad rap these days – even from people who believe in it, or who, at least, acknowledge the pointlessness of denying its fundamental veracity as a means of explaining and predicting human economic behavior. The Karma Capitalists, whose thinking we have reviewed and critiqued over the past several posts, are only one of a panoply of attempts to rectify the presumed shortcomings of capitalism. As it happens, these efforts all typically fall short, themselves, in two ways. . .
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