The concept of spiritual capitalism is demonstrated by effective business organizations, which maximize benefits for the organization, their customers and the community as a whole. This requires a long-term focus, which is difficult to achieve in many public companies that are driven by short term profitability reporting.
If all our attention and focus is on serving our customers than long-term share price maximization will be achieved.
The emphasis on short-term profitability can hurt organizations in numerous ways such as:
For capitalism to be most effective we need to move away from the focus on short-term profitability and refocus on fundamental business building. Decisions must be made using the How can I serve, how can I help yardstick. We can start to apply these concepts at the individual level of the manager and employee and develop a code of ethics that can be applied for organizational decision-making.
If our form of capitalism evolved to this level, then we could avoid activist governmental regulation and the costs associated therewith. Governmental regulation is often needed when capitalism is deprived of spirituality. Unfortunately government regulation creates yet another bureaucracy with its related inefficiencies.
In addition to Government regulation, there is the potential for labor union organization. When businesses dont respect their employees and treat them fairly, a union will step in. Once again another bureaucracy seizes power and will further burden the efficient functioning of the organization.
Furthermore litigation industries are springing up to compensate victims of corporate greed. This litigation and the industry it has formed have had a corrosive effect on our political and social institutions.
The model of spiritual capitalism suggests that market distortions such as the third party payer system in the healthcare industry, leads to inefficiency. In the healthcare industry, pharmaceutical companies have exploited the market distortions by only focusing on one narrow segment of the healthcare solution to the exclusion of all others. Such an approach can only keep increasing costs. There is also a legitimate concern that the industry may prevent total solutions from emerging as that might jeopardize their ongoing business model of providing continuing treatment. Only by empowering the ultimate consumer, elevating patients needs over the company s finances, and integrating the Body-Mind-Spirit approach can we effectively solve our healthcare dilemma.
The healthcare industry is obsessed with defeating death. If we could learn to accept death we could make more humane decisions on costly and invasive life sustaining procedures. In Yoga we learn to become comfortable with the transition that is referred to as death by going into the meditative state.
Once there, we learn that it isnt all that bad, in fact its quite nice.
Once our fear of death has been challenged and defeated, the rest of the fears start to fall by the wayside. The irony is that by preparing to die, we can live our lives more fully. Just as we prepare for life with education we should prepare for our transition with meditation.
Other industries such as Fast food, Beer and Wine and Entertainment prey upon our addictive impulses. These companies not only generate negative Karma but they set themselves up for potentially costly litigation. If these companies would invest more in encouraging their consumers to use their products responsibly and offer alternatives to the unhealthy fare, it could be a win-win situation for everyone. The key is to understand what the consumer is actually buying and offer complimentary products.
The laws of nature are much more efficient and effective than the laws of man. Whenever possible we should design systems that mirror the brilliance of nature. Sometimes this requires a leap of faith or change in on our belief systems, which is sometimes easier said than done.
Porkers on the Hill
Porkers on the hill
Give em a handful
Promise to diet but they never do
And each year the tax code expands
On April 15th of next year
But your cries of despair will never be heard
When we try to micromanage the behavior of individuals by creating a complex tax code we create inefficiencies. Companies which focus on reducing taxes by building up debt is just one of the problems. The tax advantage of capital gains over dividends is another. By what divine edict do we discriminate? It should not be left to men to make these judgments but to the market.
Our accounting system needs to be updated to reflect the realities of the new economy. The focus needs to move away from the past and toward the present and future. A system should be developed to be simple and informative. Independent regulatory boards that are beholden to special interests will not be able to do the job. A unified independent approach is required and the government may have to step in. If we do not take action we risk losing investor confidence and the integrity and stability of our capitalistic model could be in jeopardy. The loyalty of the CPA firm will never be with the shareholders as long as management is paying the fees. The system must be rebuilt.
As important as developing an adequate model of financial reporting, is instilling certain ethics in our financial and corporate professionals.
I suggest a Spiritual Accounting Index that reflects:
1) Human Resource Value
Developing these will give investors an enlightened approach to stock purchasing and analysis.
The key to restoring confidence in our shaky financial markets is to return to principled business practice. The concepts of Yoga for Business advocate a spiritual approach to service as the ultimate goal and mission of the organization. Our current business leaders need to begin implementing change at the highest level of the organizations including the Board of Directors and the Top Executives. Shareholder groups are currently demanding change and the Yoga for Business approach should be part of the restructured business model.
In the next chapter we will discuss how to evaluate whether our belief systems are helpful in promoting positive changes in our organizations.
© 2007, Bruce Eric Van Horn
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. - Hippocrates
Author, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Van Horn founded Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He presents a daily Yoga Workout routine that provides a complete physical, mental and spiritual workout. He is the author of Yoga for Prostate Health and Yoga for Men, designed for all levels of experience with yoga.. He has renamed (Asanas) positions in Yoga using terms from business to help you identify with the movement and focus your attention. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Bruce also leads a volunteer yoga program designed for cancer patients and healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center. He lives outside New York with his wife Michelle who is a Reiki Master. Bruce has two daughters who have asked that he refrain from headstands at the town pool. His website is www.yogaforbusiness.com If you have any questions, feel free to write: E-Mail.
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