Following the Money doesn’t Work.

Larry Miller writes a blog called ‘Management Meditations’. He writes, “Yesterday, a young executive at Goldman Sachs, Greg Smith, resigned in a very public way. He wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” In essence he accused the leadership of Goldman Sachs of destroying the internal moral fiber of the firm, putting profit before meeting the needs of customers, and he cited the open contempt that Goldman personnel feel toward their clients.” 

Miller goes on the describe cases, from his own experiences in management consultancy, that define the difference in success between product and client service improvement oriented companies, and money oriented companies. To wit, the latter tend to be less successful, even doomed, over the longer term. Miller juxtaposes his view with cases from no less than the demise of the Roman Empire. Poignant reading.

The issue of energy and resource distribution, wealth, and value seem often to be based on a distorted perspective on human life and personal identity. At the heart of the issue is the question, “Why are we here?”  One answer is, “For no good reason, so exciting my identity however I find it, is all that is necessary.” It seems that the great financial institutions and, perhaps, many other causes of human society, live on this answer. In this case, we might say that the identity is, itself, like money, and therefore, Miller’s argument applies to the identity. In other words, living to excite one’s identity has a short lived gain, and a poor long term success.

The other answer is that “We are here for the purpose of raising and ever-advancing civilisation, for the great good of all people, for the unity of human society”, an answer out of the game book of Baha’u’llah. It might not be unreasonable to expect that individuals with such long term goals, might respond to daily, weekly, monthly and yearly circumstances with strategies, not to excite the self, but to resource activities towards that greater good.

To be sure, we are all a bit motivated by the excitation of our identity. Indeed we might not be able to go forward at all without it. Yet the effort we apply to stretch our identity in adaptation for the greater good, to be in unity with the rest of human society, will create the greatest results for all. And what creates the greatest results for all, creates the greatest results for me.


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