In his keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester (2 October 2013), the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, told Tory activists that 'Profit Is Not A Dirty Word'.

My question is: Is he right in his assumption, without qualifying it further? Is profit “clean and good” under any circumstances? What about the values behind wealth creation and profit? Should they be value-led or value-free?

As Mr. Cameron did not say anything about these matters, I believe what he said is truly nonsensical. Let me give a couple of examples to clarify this point further. Let us consider these scenarios: Are profits made by drug pushers, human traffickers, arms/ weapons of mass destruction trade, sex trade, pay-day-loans, gambling, casino-capitalism and the likes clean or dirty? This is why I believe Mr. Cameron should have qualified his statement.

Now, I wish to explain a bit more by quoting a passage or two from a speech I recently gave in Canada:

A Path to a Spiritual Education for the Common Good: Education for a Just and Sustainable World

“For Education for the Common Good to be realised, the purpose of education must not only be (as important as they are) to: teach the students a trade; prepare them for a productive career; enabling them to earn a good income; but, more significantly, to teach them also how they may all live in peace and harmony with one another and with full respect for the rest of creation. Students must be encouraged to seriously reflect on daily basis on “What it means and entails to be human”. They must be taught value-led education, values which include loving kindness, generosity, sympathy, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, duty, honesty, fortitude, responsibility, altruism, trust and dignity, amongst others.

This form of teaching must come first and well before teaching students how to make money. This will ensure that wealth creation will be sustainable and for useful reasons. Value-led wealth creation for the purpose of value-led expenditure and investment is to be encouraged and valued. Blessed are those wealth creators who know “Why” and “How” wealth is produced and more importantly when wealth is created “What” is it used for.”

Therefore, if Mr. Cameron, was truly truthful and not agenda-driven, then, he should  had gone further and qualified his statement by saying words such I had said in Canada, especially, “Value-led wealth creation for the purpose of value-led expenditure and investment is to be encouraged and valued. Blessed are those wealth creators who know “Why” and “How” wealth is produced and more importantly when wealth is created “What” is it used for.”

Value-free profit-maximisation for the sake of just making loads of money has brought us all a very bitter harvest, bankrupting us morally, spiritually, economically and more. As noted in an excellent editorial in today’s Observer, the modern-day slavery in the UK and elsewhere in the world, which has significantly increased profits for the few, has been nothing but short of a disaster for the rest of the population.

In the UK for example, people are trafficked into the country and forced to work in food factories and farms that supply our leading supermarkets.

Last year, for instance, a joint operation that included police and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) freed 32 Lithuanians, assigned by a licensed labour provider, working for Britain's largest egg-producing company, Noble Foods, suppliers to Marks & Spencer and Tesco. Often unpaid, the workers endured 17-hour shifts, slept 15 to a room and were beaten if they dissented. Such degrading practices also damp down prices and provide huge profits.

Bringing Home the Bacon, a report published last year by Manchester University, is a rigorous investigation into the pig meat supply chain that reveals far wider problems in the whole food and farming sector worth £88bn a year. The report argues that low prices are achieved by playing suppliers off against each other, continual renegotiation of contracts, short termism and reducing margins for the "little man" while aiming to please shareholders with quarterly results.

The wage slave in Bangladesh, the worker in the British food industry, the factory employee in China and… arguably share a common ambition: a decent day's pay for a decent day's work. At a global political level, the Chinese government is not alone in realising that the era of rock bottom prices and contemporary serfdom is coming to an end. Human rights have a value too.  As one speaker at a recent anti-slavery conference put it: "The pot is boiling.  Simply putting more weights on the lid is not a sustainable solution."

This is why I say Mr. Cameron is so wrong: if profit is not made of, for and by values, then, it is dirty, useless and redundant, except for the value-less people who have made it.

So what's to be done? What should be the path to a sustainable and just world?

The answer for me is: To train the future leaders, today’s global youth, to be different to Mr.Cameron and other leaders like them. They should value the value of values. They should know why and how and what  wealth and profits are made for.

The next question is: How these new leaders, today’s youth, might put these values into practice?

My answers is, through education, not any education, and surely not the education mostly on offer currently, but a truly different form of education, an education grounded in values and delivered by those who know that it is a great honour and responsibility to be a teacher, as well as knowing that teaching, above all else, is a vocation and learning is a sacrament.

This is why I would like to invite you to read these few pages below, as what is needed is a spiritual and value-led education:

A Path to a Spiritual Education for the Common Good: Education for a Just and Sustainable World

http://www.gcgi.info/news/472-a-path-to-a-spiritual-education-for-the-common-good-education-for-a-just-and-sustainable-world

See also:

Who pays the price for our cheap goods?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/13/observer-editorial-low-wages-exploitation

GCGI 2014 Oxford Conference: Call for Presentation and Participation

The Value of Values: Spiritual Wisdom in Everyday Life”

Waterperry House, Oxford

Sunday 31 August- Thursday 4 September, 2014

See Details:

http://gcgi.info/news/476-gcgi-2014-oxford-conference-call-for-presentation-and-participation


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