Friday, April 8, 2011

Imagine a World that Rewards Creation Instead of Greed

Imagine the clouds dripping.
Dig a hole in your garden to
put them in. -Yoko Ono

Imagine a world in which social status was achieved by creating the most value.  By value I do not mean financial wealth-- that is a measure of how much you can take.  It is easy to measure profits in digits and so it is easy to celebrate the bank or corporation that has the largest profits.  

What if we were as consistent in measuring what an organization created?  We like to believe that the business that does the best work in the world receives the greatest rewards, and yet the work in the world is not what we measure.  What kind of "taking-stock exchange" would we create to tally the most creative corporations and banks?  ("Creative" meaning those that create the most, not the most innovative in finding ways to accumulate profits.)

What if the bank that helped fund the most innovative companies-- that enabled the most great ideas to thrive-- what if this bank was viewed as the most successful?  What if its CEOs and Presidents were the most admired and most emulated?  What would it take for us to change our definition of success to value creating over taking?  

Imagine if the individual with the greatest social status was not the one who could buy the most stuff, but the one who had done the best job bringing things into the world-- funding or making art, teaching the most scientists or funding the research with the most breakthroughs, funding the companies that had the most revolutionary impact on society.  What if we held the creator in the highest esteem and saw a big house and a car as simply things-- neither good or bad in themselves?  What if we thought of power not in terms of political sway or the ability to hire people-- but in terms of the ability to effect positive change in the world?  If we operated under these assumptions, what would the world be like?  Who would be our heroes?  How would business and the economy change?  Can you imagine this world?  How vividly can you imagine it?