The damaging effects of the financial crisis on companies are making some business leaders ask deeper questions about our economic system. Increasing inequality also presents risks to business, according to the International Monetary Fund and World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, as the costs of natural resources rise and our population reaches 7 billion, so more business leaders are wondering whether the world can support more and more economic growth….
In this month’s topic of the month we have the founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability professor Jem Bendell arguing that there is a limit to how much economic growth the world can support.
Management consultants and business schools have largely failed to provide business leaders with insight on these questions, and help them develop appropriate strategies. More business thinkers shared initial ideas on creating a new form of capitalism. But are they too cautious in their analysis, and too narrow in what ideas they draw upon? Yes, according to Professor Jem Bendell. In this interview Professor Bendell argues we need to uncover our hidden assumptions in order to develop new insights into the strategic implications of our current crises. He describes how the current debate about the merits of economic growth is illustrative of how the wrong assumptions lead to meaningless and unresolvable debates. Professor Bendell explains that there are now four main views about the role of economic growth in society — pro-growth, no-growth, green-growth, and beyond-growth.
These positions seem irreconcilable, and yet they are all based on a false assumption that the nature of money, and its mode of creation, is neutral in its effect on society. He explains how better understanding the monetary system could help resolve the impasse on growth, and lead to new approaches from business, even including new business opportunities. Professor Bendell is the academic chair of the Leading Wellbeing festival in July 2015, in the Lake District, UK. www.leadingwell.org