Much attention is currently being directed towards companies finding a “purpose” more meaningful than the making of profits, towards running companies to accomplish good ends for the environment, society and in governance (ESG) and finding a net positive balance in the totality of their impacts.
Our metric of a moral capitalism looks in that direction, as well. Given that the Caux Round Table Principles for Business were conceived and debated by practical senior business executives, such principles seek a balance of idealism and realism.
I noticed, with some interest, a recent C-Suite Outlook survey by the Conference Board on CEO outlook for 2022. Those responding believe that the issues having the greatest impact on their businesses are: 1) Covid related disruptions; 2) rising inflation; 3) labor shortages; 4) supply chain disruptions; and 5) changes in consumer behavior.
Ah, the tyranny of the mundane when it reigns over our hopes and dreams.
I was reminded of two lines in Robert Frost’s elegant poem on aspirations:
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
Frost then goes on to leave truth and dream a bit:
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.