I had the pleasure of attending the opening “Business Breakfast” for the Virginia Festival of the Book, (thanks to Matt). I love that Charlottesville has this type of event – supposedly the most successful book festival to come into existence in decades. C’Ville has more bookstores per capita than any other city in the country.
The guest speaker was Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism. This concept is one that I have been interested in for sometime, but have danced around without having the catchy phrase, “conscious capitalism.” This idea may have a friend in Google’s “Do No Evil.”
She addressed four trends that she sees as “next” – two of which –
- The rise of conscious capitalism
- Boom in socially responsible investing
really resonated with what is happening in one segment of the real estate industry. Specifically, the green movement. Think about it – to paraphrase her – social change happens when there is a confluence of new values and economic necessity. This is happening right now.
One core of good business is selfishness – the good kind. Doing something for the good of others, solely for the good of others, is not sustainable. Allowing free enterprise to prosper, grow and lead market trends will hopefully lead to a successful market. Do you think that those running Nature Neutral are in business solely for the altruistic gains – the karmic payback? Doubtful. Profit is an extraordinary motivating factor. The market for green materials, sustainable housing and alternative fuels will be huge. Sure, there is a “feel-good” factor, but “feel-good” will only carry an idea so far. There has to be a motive beyond philanthropy. There is a profitable market here – there is no doubt.
I have read neither book (yet) but there seemed to be some inherent parallels between Ms. Aburdene’s theories and those of Crunchy Cons.
One of the most compelling statements she made was that the “moral rebirth of capitalism cannot be achieved through regulation – you may end up with a culture of compliance, maybe – the rebirth must come from the people – from the grassroots” (quoted as accurately as I could). A bit idealistic? Yep. A hair wishy-washy? Perhaps. Achievable and possible? Absolutely.
One nifty feature that Amazon now has is a concordance page – a word cloud that shows the 100 most popular words in a book.