The Big Grab is Over

Respect is a vital necessity in business life
Newspaper: SP!TS
Date: 18th November 2008
Country, Language: The Netherlands, Dutch

BRUSSELS – We are at a crucial point in history; banking systems are collapsing, the environment is at the brink of exhaustion and there is vast poverty. If we wish to keep making unlimited profit, without regard for our fellowmen and environment, we are heading straight for destruction.

This was the conclusion of some three hundred international businessmen, politicians, scientists and religious leaders in Brussels last week. During a symposium on “Ethics in Business” at the European Parliament, they turned their gaze to the future.


Strengthening (finance) laws, regulations and oversight is not sufficient to prevent crises – the change undertaken must be radical, those attending the conference believe. Among them is European Parliament member Nirj Deva. “This is the time when the world decides if ethics will disappear in the struggle for survival, or if it will form the basis on which we will build our future.” Companies, politicians and citizens, too, must allow themselves to be guided by values such as responsibility, honesty, justice and trust. This is the only way to a healthy banking system and healthy companies, a healthy environment and ultimately, a prosperous society.

Such a world calls for leaders who are courageous, ethical and politically powerful, according to Michael Klein, Vice President of the World Bank. The Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, believes that “this critical time offers an opportunity to gain substantial benefits at all levels of society and to inspire the youth to build an ’ethical future’.”

Young Indian Suhas Gopinath (22) is presently fighting corruption in his country. The entrepreneur started out at the age of 14 by developing websites. Now he has his own IT company with branches in eleven countries.

“It is very difficult to obtain necessary permits quickly without bribes. It takes ages and can be extremely frustrating. But I am not out to make a quick buck. Then I wouldn’t be able to avoid greasing palms. My goal is to make nice websites and provide jobs for the unemployed. In the long-term, I think this works out much better. The majority of employees, for example, are so loyal that they stay with me in spite of offers from companies like Microsoft.”

With that kind of respect for your staff, one generally also gets the best results in scientific research, scientist Fahri Saatchioglu believes. The Norwegian cancer research specialist oversees the work of fifteen scientists. “If I wish to see results in cancer research, I must strive very hard to ensure their continuous education and personal development.”

Ethical Business Practices

The international symposium “Ethics in business” was organised for the fifth time by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV). This non-profit organisation was founded in 1997 by Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “Business people and companies can be successful only when they respect their fellowmen, otherwise they will ultimately fail. Making profit is great, but never at the expense of ethical values,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar believes.