Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Answering The Question

In applying for a summer internship with JustMeans, I was asked to respond to the question: Is Social Responsibility more or less important in a recession? 

My reply:

This question assumes a direct relationship between Social Responsibility and the ebb and flow of the world's economic fortunes. I think that's a false association. 

The real challenge is that Western culture has valued the accumulation of wealth and power over everything else and at any cost. Fortunately, we're starting to transform our ideas about Enough; that you can have enough money, but you can't have enough social capital. Investing in people, their education, health care, and environment is just as valuable as putting money in the bank because then you don't fear the people who don't have enough, and you don't fear ending up on the wrong side of the enough equation yourself. 

Which brings the answer around to: More Important - though not for directly economic reasons. It's because the primary emotion people experience during a recession is fear. The most potent inoculant against fear is compassion. And compassion is the currency of Social Responsibility.

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