Friday, December 7, 2007

Human Welfare

Whatever be the nature of business, fundamentally it has all been started in the interest of the well being of humans. So the business of human well being is the only real business. All other businesses are subsidiaries of that. As long as business leaders remain aware of the fact that every business was started for human well being and that is the only purpose of doing business, business is fine.Today there are corporations that are big enough to take over small countries and yet they are still looking at business from one quarterly balance sheet to the next quarterly balance sheet.

That is not good enough. A farmer plants a tree and waits 8-9 years before he can reap the fruits of planting that tree. There are several companies that have the capability today for similar long term investments. If they invest in human health and education, in about 15 years they will have huge human resources at their disposal. Finding employable and capable human resources is becoming a big challenge today, as is the expansion of a market base. We have left half the world population behind, and unless we empower the entire world population to participate in economic activity, things will not reach their full potential.

In the last three-four years I have been to several world economic forum and other summits featuring business leaders and many of them are not focused on long term investment. They are only worried about current trends and how they can gain the competitive edge over others.
But today I see that slowly the thought process is beginning to change. Many of the business leaders are beginning to understand that an inclusive economy is definitely better in the long run. Inclusive doesn’t just mean including the rest of the human population but also to address ecological concerns.

Business of course should not be run like a charity. I think the days of corporate social responsibility are over. No human being wants to feel his well being is dependent on charity. He wants to feel worthy, and he wants to feel that he is part of the process of economic prosperity; that it’s an equal partnership between him and each corporation. Both the corporation and the individual come armed with certain capabilities. It’s important to see how human potential and corporate capability can be combined to create a productive enterprise.We recently devised an in-depth business plan and gave it to Reliance Industries to show them how they could include the local people, benefit the farmers and make money in the process. It took us six months of talking and negotiating to convince them it works.

As far as India is concerned, there is a big economic boom but it sitting on a very narrow base. The biggest generation of new economic development is from the IT industry which does not employ more than 2 to 2.5 million people which is just a little over 2 percent of the total population. You cannot have sustained growth or an economic revolution by involving such a small number of the population.

Right now we have 1 billion people to feed and the Indian farmer is somehow managing it through a very rudimentary infrastructure. We need to focus on investing in the creation and training of a skilled force and look at it as a long term investment that will bear fruit after 6 to 8 years. There is great need for long term investment in different forms of education which will be beneficial for the investor also. Otherwise we will have chaos, because of unstructured and unplanned development and movement. The chaos will be outside and within the human being as well.Having talked about business and creating opportunities, I have to point out that all those who are working towards economic development, and creating opportunities or have already become successful business leaders, need to also focus on creating a balance between their inner and outer worlds. A certain kind of clarity to look beyond the immediate has to be created and that can ok beyond the immediate has to be created and that can or inner and outer worlds. have already bed that clarity will only come when the person reaches a certain physical and mental state. We teach an inner engineering course which helps executives in achieving that. For the skeptical, I must add that the course is taught in such a technical and scientific way that you will not have any problems with the divine, because whatever you call divine becomes a source within you. The moment the person loses contact or turns away from the source within himself he reaches a dead-end.

The engineers from IIT once they take the course will realize that the yoga system we teach is more technical than any engineering they have studied. At the World Economic Forum, the topic I presented was spirituality and science and how the scientists today are talking like philosophers. Albert Einstein has said that unless we look at science with the vision of a mystic there is no answer

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