Better Business

[Jeremy Horner/Getty Images]

Business today is conducted on a global scale. The "logic of the market" has penetrated more deeply into all aspects of people's lives than at any time past. More and more human activities are now conducted as monetary transactions. At the same time, business ties and trade have made the webs of interdependence linking the world more explicit. Products and services generated in one part of the world will be consumed in another. Decisions taken in one part of the world will affect how people live their lives on the other side of the Earth. Globally, far too many people, especially women, remain excluded from participation in the processes that shape our shared economic life. Such "voiceless constituencies"--including the ecological base that supports all economic activity--must be heeded if we are to survive.

Businesspeople are, needless to say, people. Human concerns--responsibilities as parents and grandparents, for example--are inspiring many to take a broader, more long-term perspective. Core concepts such as "wealth" and "prosperity" are being rethought in a new and holistic way. The qualities of innovation, flexibility, energy and focused vision that characterize successful businesses represent an invaluable resource. They can help propel us toward a future in which the basic needs of all are met and the unique human potential of each individual is realized and expressed.