What a pleasant shock I had today!

Photo:facebook.com

Today, as any other day, I came down to my study at about 4.30am for my usual Dawn Moment, to do a bit of meditation, enjoying the morning chorus, watching the sun rising, butterflies dancing and the sky colours changing. Reading a poem or two, trying to find the right balance, in my heart and in my mind, to begin my day, hopefully for the common good.

Then, I turned to my next action of the day, reading the Guardian to discover what had been going on when I was sleeping.

I began to read the headlines first and this is where the big shock came in. I could not believe my eyes:

Covid-19 a 'wake-up call' to build fairer society, says billionaire JP Morgan boss

JPMorgan Chase boss says business and government must act and invest for common good.

Friends, this is a very significant statement, from a  big and powerful chief, who is the boss of an equally big and powerful organisation, in charge of very bad things happening in our world. Put it simply, the antithesis par excellence to what the common good is all about.

Given the above, nonetheless, let me share the gist of what the ‘Boss’ has said:

Jamie Dimon says this crisis must be used to ‘rebuild an economy that creates and sustains opportunity for dramatically more people’ 

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, says the coronavirus outbreak is a ‘wake-up call’ for the government and business to build a fairer economy for millions of people ‘who have been left behind for too long’. America’s best-known banker made the plea in a memo to staff ahead of JPMorgan’s annual shareholders’ meeting, where he spoke of his ‘fervent hope’ that the coronavirus pandemic would lead to sweeping societal changes by ‘reminding us that we live on one planet’...

…’The last few months have laid bare the reality that, even before the pandemic hit, far too many people were living on the edge,’ Mr Dimon wrote in his memo, days after figures showed that 36.6m people had applied for jobless benefits in the US since the pandemic hit. ‘This crisis must serve as a wake-up call and a call to action for business and government to think, act and invest for the common good and confront the structural obstacles that have inhibited inclusive economic growth for years,’ wrote Mr Dimon. (extracts from the CEO’s Memo to the shareholders)

Wow! Such beautiful words, music to my ears.  I am happy that a miracle has happened, and one of the main architects of the 2008 financial crisis and other calamities, has come out, changed his spots, and now is talking about the common good. But, I am disappointed that he has not gone a step further, telling us how this change may come about, what is the path to, what are the steps to climb to get to the promised land of the common good.

Given this big omission and shortsightedness, as the founder of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative, I am humbled and delighted to step in and show a possible direction and sources of inspiration to Mr. Dimon.

Dear Mr. Dimon, to change the world for the better, and to build it in the interest of the common good, obliges us to imagine a different world first. I invite you to join me in this act of re-imagination:

Imagine a political system that puts the public first.  Imagine the economy and markets serving people rather than the other way round.  Imagine us placing values of kindness, respect, fairness, interdependence, and mutuality at the heart of our economy. Imagine an economy that gives everyone their fair share, at least an appropriate living wage, and no zero-hour contracts.  Imagine where jobs are accessible and fulfilling, producing useful things rather than games of speculation and casino capitalism. Imagine where wages support lives rather than an ever expanding chasm between the top 1% and the rest. Imagine a society capable of supporting everyone’s needs, and which says no to greed.  Imagine unrestricted access to an excellent education, healthcare, housing and social services. Imagine hunger being eliminated, no more food banks and soup kitchens. Imagine each person having a place he/she can call home. Imagine all senior citizens living a dignified and secure life. Imagine all the youth leading their lives with ever-present hope for a better world.  Imagine a planet protected from the threat of climate change now and for the generations to come. Imagine no more wars, but dialogue, conversation and non-violent resolution of conflicts. Imagine a world free of corruption!

This is the country and the world I wish to see and I believe we have the means to build it, if we take action in the interest of the common good.- Kamran Mofid, What might an Economy for the Common Good look like? 

Dear Mr. Dimon, way before it became fashionable for bankers, such as your good self, talking about the common good, I, a ’Recovered’ academic economists, spoke about the common good, its relevance to business, economics, globalisation, education, management, fairness and justice, at a major conference in Dubai in 2004.

Given your newly discovered interest in the common good, I believe it is very important for us to revisit that inspiring evening in Dubai.

‘It was a very memorable occasion: Around 500 invited guests, amongst them,  senior politicians, diplomats, business, cultural and military attaches, captains of industry, bankers and financial leaders, the leaders of the civil societies, NGOs and the media, senior religious and spiritual representative, scholars, researchers, students, youth and many more.

Given the current state of the world economy, the crises and challenges of capitalism, and more, I think recalling and remembering this speech- delivered over 16 years ago, at the height of the hyper boom and the seemingly unstoppable march of neo-liberalism and economic-globalisation, may prove to be very telling.’

A Businessman and an Economist in Dialogue for the Common Good: Dubai 2004

Finally, Mr. Dimon, to prove to the world that indeed you are serious about your call to action for the common good, I invite you to join us at the GCGI in our Call to Action:

GCGI Call to Action

We believe in the power of service, volunteerism, empathy and actions in the interest of the common good to improve lives, to build a better world. I also believe that economic prosperity, ecological harmony, better lives and a kinder world are all possible, if we all acknowledge one thing: We are not only accountable to our shareholders, but and more importantly, we must be answerable to all the stakeholders and the entire web of life. 

After all is said and done, it is not enough to simply talk about beliefs and principles; we must live up to them, be transparent and accountable, and continually find ways of improving.

At the GCGI,  we want to continue and play our part in building a better world for everyone. I do know that I  do not have all of the answers, and it is only by working with others and being open to new ideas and different perspectives that I can come up with possible solutions that global challenges require.

Below you can see my suggested Ten Steps to build a better world. Please share your thoughts, ideas, and insights with me. We can only build the better world we are seeking if we come together, work together, build together. 

It’s time to deliver on the goals we’ve set for a more peaceful, resilient planet and a better life

Ten Steps to Build a Better World

Co-creating “The Future We Want” in the Interest of the Common Good

I yearn to see that one day in the not too distant future JP Morgan can be believed and trusted by all stakeholders around the world as the Bank For The Common Good.

Related reading:

Healing Our Way to a more Caring, Kinder and Fairer Society: A View from a CEO and a Recovered Economist

Dear Mr. Johnson, your Covid-19 survival must become a force for good

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