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18/03/2020

Together we change the future

Prof. René Schmidpeter

Together we change the future

Original source: https://www.forum-csr.net/News/14411/GemeinsamverndernwirdieZukunft.html?_newsletter=273&_abo=1

Although the transformation of our economy is now being extremely accelerated by the current crisis, it would have been necessary in any case.

Globalization as we know it is coming to a standstill. It is now important that we reflect on our strengths and on the time after that. The crisis shows that our current economic system is extremely fragile and that the way we do business will be fundamentally changed by the crisis.

There are first signs that the corona virus was spread throughout Europe by migrant workers in China, via low wage workers in northern Italy and from there via various vacation resorts - where people were still celebrating during the crisis. In all cases, the purely economic interest was often in the foreground, without considering the effects on the whole. Thus, short-term profit was seen as the measure of all things, although the price is now far greater for everyone - including companies. 

Even global value chains that focus purely on cost reduction quickly reach their limits in times of crisis. Supply chains maximized purely for profit have led us into negative dependencies whose price has not been sufficiently reflected - and is now becoming obvious. The vulnerability of our economic system has also been exacerbated by the fact that the necessary structural adjustments to our economy, which have been called for since the financial crisis, have not been made. The low interest rate policy has made structural adjustment more difficult, and considerable misallocation of funds by companies has created significant false incentives. Companies and business models that could not survive were kept alive. As a result, the fragility and dependencies in the overall system have continued to increase massively. Moreover, these old structures and companies stood in the way of the emerging purpose and impact-oriented economies. These findings show: The transformation of our economy is now being accelerated by the current crisis, but it would have been necessary anyway.

Once again, it is clear that the often propagated oppositional thinking between profit and societal interests (in this case - protection of health and life) and the unconditional promotion of old structures have led us into this difficult situation. It is therefore more important than ever to finally overcome the classic trade-off between economic success and sustainable development (SDG). This helps us today and prepares us for the future. 

Sustainable management and responsible entrepreneurship are becoming more important than ever with this crisis. It is an irony of history that the Corona crisis of all things helps us to contain those negative social and economic developments that had threatened the spirit of solidarity and humanity even before the crisis. For the crisis promotes small-scale structures, regional economic cycles and social cohesion, all the things that are still present in many places in Europe and which some people have smiled at.

We are all currently experiencing the big changes together - a change that we can shape positively. History has shown that even in times of crisis there is still a lot of room for maneuver to have a positive effect on the result! This is where we can take up where we left off and thus use our strengths together. Now is the time to invest in sustainable economic structures, responsible decisions, regional recycling management and the solidarity of each individual. In the end, this will also lead to economic and social success. 

After all, in addition to the Corona crisis, climate change and the loss of biodiversity are also major challenges for humanity - which we will also solve with a new economic thinking. It is now necessary to join forces in order to build sustainable economic structures and to jointly use the positive impulses from the crisis for the coming transformations. Many positive innovations will emerge from the crisis and a new management paradigm of “sustainable management” will emerge.

We can show the world that in the end it is human measure and shared values that count and that economic success and social cohesion are not mutually exclusive! Let us start by thinking the present from a shared positive future. The time has come to change the future for the better together, because each individual can use his or her strengths for change and commit to a positive future!

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