#247: We All Benefit From This Capital Measure of Success

Once again there is much scaremongering about the economy, some of it valid, most of it inflated. This happens when we focus on the mechanisms of the economy while we ignore the purpose of an economy.

The same applies to capitalism and to business. We too often value processes over purpose.

It’s almost like raving about the features of a car out of context of its purpose, namely simply to get you from here to there. Features might be nice, benefits add value, but only purpose really matters.

Economists go on and on about GDP and consumer consumption and other cold economic measures. I can criticize economists because I was one of them, at least by formal qualification.

Business executives go on and on about profits and shareholder wealth and other passionless performance measures. I can criticize them too, because I was one of them, at least by formal title.

As both economist and executive, I find these traditional measures of success socially unhelpful and personally not motivating.

And yet, here’s what impresses me about the economy and capitalism. How one person’s dream can result in betterment for so many.

We think of business success in terms of profits or market share or shareholder wealth. I see it in how consistently the business feeds and clothes and houses the families who depend on it.

Now that is genuine success. And meaningful purpose. Amazingly, we all benefit from it.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.