Much has been written about the current global economic crisis, and commentators continuously debate how soon the system will “return to normal”. But is “normal” what we really want? Could the crisis be an opportunity to create a new and better system?
International policy think-tank the EBBF thinks so. It recently stated that any response to the world economic crisis must address ethics, given that the crisis is “fundamentally one of trust and integrity”. Furthermore, it said, the situation requires an ethical response “at all levels” - from individuals, from corporations, and from governments and regulatory entities. And as people reshape their thinking, certain principles must be considered.
We need to replace the concept of self-centred materialism with that of service to humanity; cooperation must replace competition, ethical behaviour must replace corruption, gender balance must replace sexism, world unity must replace protectionism, and justice must replace injustice, it said, noting that it issued the statement in an effort to contribute to new ways of thinking that will help individuals, companies and countries develop new models as they navigate the current crisis.
“The EBBF promotes and welcomes engagement with the widest possible community to develop together the new framework. We call on peoples from all businesses, countries, and walks of life to work together to build a new economic system based upon equity and justice,” it concluded.
“There is a growing need for alternatives,” said Daniel Truran, secretary general of the EBBF. “People are thirsty for a different way of working and of conducting their organizations. In times of crisis, the search for the ’right’ way forward - a direction that was not the one that got us into this crisis - is stronger than ever,” he said.
The EBBF statement was issued at the 2009 Global Ethics Forum, held at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. The European Bahá’í Business Forum (www.ebbf.org) was founded in 1990 and now has nearly 400 members in some 60 countries.
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