Recently a dinner about business ethics took place titled ‘trust, worthy of investment’. It provided a nice debate about value-based organisations. Conclusion: Wonderful, but how do we put this into practice?
It does not seem to be going too well when you read the story of a thriving Dutch gas meter family company with 125 employees, which became a prey for venture investors. In 2006 an American investment company took over the company. After two years a British venture company bought the company and shifted 60 workplaces to Turkey and Slovakia. The next buyer deleted another 30 jobs. Last year the American company Honeywell took over the company and shifted the last jobs to Germany. The former thriving gas meter company closed. All employees were fired.
The story fits into the philosophy of ‘unscrupulous’ entrepreneurs who prioritise self-interest. They represent a ‘disorderly’ capitalism, driven by egoism, greed and self-interest. Governance and rules are completely taboo. In this world, there are no moral values like solidarity, CSR or taking into account the interests of employees and their families. It’s the way back to the feudal Middle Ages with rulers who consider people as serfs. These people do have good connections with the growing group of dictators who are surrounded by uncritical paladins, demand absolute loyalty and never account themselves. For them, human rights and moral values are subordinate to self-interest.
Against this wave of rudeness, the attention for integrity grows. International participants of integrity courses base themselves on values like truth, honesty, sincerity, good manners and responsibility. They do invest in trust. They are people with the courage to disagree and show indignation. Like the mayor of Palermo (Sicilia), who has been a proven fighter against the mafia since 1985. Citizens see him as a hero. He considers refugees not as a problem but as human beings who have the right to have a life with perspective.
These values belong to democracy, where the people reign and not a few rulers or egoists. Dictators, disruptive capitalists and the mafia form a tight front against democrats, social entrepreneurs, professional civil servants and conscientious politicians. To win the complex fight a deep international cooperation and permanent education are of vital importance. To keep our dignity!