Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Business Will Change The World, chapter 1

[This is the first chapter in a series of thoughts regarding business's role in the world, and our role in business as consumers, workers, and citizens. It began as a workshop at The Idea Camp D.C.]

Business will change the world. This isn't a pitch or a proposal, this is a fact about the future. I am as sure of this as I am of the sun peeking over the eastern hills come morning.

The last 200 years plot a story of global transformation. Billions of people moved from subsistence farms to cities, where employment and education hold the chance for prosperity and wealth, and services like water and electricity promise comfort. Last year, for the first time in history, more people lived in cities than not, and the move is accelerating. By 2030 it is expected that 5 billion (5,000,000,000) people will live in urban areas and their slums and suburbs.

This is a massive cultural and geopolitical change driven by business, starting with the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s and continuing in today's information revolution. Business is the most dynamic form of organization: self-funding and profitable, facilitating mass employment, bankrolling governments and nonprofits, meeting the needs and desires of a huge portion of the world's population, and growing faster and larger than government's ability to oversee it.

Despite the recession, business as an aggregate institution is stronger than it has ever been, with more of the world dependent on its success than ever before. As technology continues to advance and the global economy recovers to growth, business will have an enormous impact on what tomorrow looks like - perhaps a greater impact than any other single factor. This series of articles will investigate business's influence on the world and on our lives, and the opportunity that we have to sculpt this dominant force in the shape of our common values.

For good or ill or both, business will change the world. What are we going to do about it?



Blogger Jenelle said...

Good stuff. I bet there is more provocative stuff to come. Looking forward to hearing all you didn't get to say in our crazy little Idea Camp circle, James. You are a great writer. Keep it going.

8:13 PM  
Blogger James said...

Thanks Jenelle! Yeah, round two is going to spark some responses, methinks.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

REALLY looking forward to chapter 2! Thanks, James, I always loved discussing ideas with you.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

Really enjoyed the workshop during Idea Camp. The dialogue was great and it gave me some ideas to pursue. Looking forward to the rest of your articles.

9:36 AM  

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