Over the years I have worked with thousands of people, from all sorts of backgrounds, in all sorts of jobs. When asked about the values and principles they believe would bring out the best in them and others, they almost always came up with the same things – what I would call the universal values and principles.
Yet we live in a world where these values and principles are not the driving force. Instead, we have developed culturally an ethos of greed, inequity, discrimination, short-termism, deceit and self-interest – the opposites of what people say would allow us to be at our best.
It doesn’t match what people would prefer and it brings out the worst in people – it’s as if things have turned upside down. I think that it is the result of capitalism gone mad. I’m not saying that capitalism is wrong – just that it has led to a selfish, greedy materialistic way of doing things, and however much people would prefer a different way, we feel as if we have to behave similarly if we are going to ‘get on’.
But most of us are no longer ‘getting on’. More and more people are struggling just to get by, while the rich 1% get richer. More people are homeless while a few have several homes to choose from. More people are working harder than ever for not enough reward or recognition. And most of our systems to support people are crumbling from chronic underfunding.
None of it makes sense. We thrive when there is kindness, co-operation, fair treatment, support when we need it. so how can we thrive in this insane world as it stands?
I think it is time we reasserted those values that help people to be the best they can be. We need to stand up for common sense, for the general good, for a chance to thrive.
It is surely possible to revert to our true nature and live in a world where everyone’s basic needs were met, where people were treated with respect, where fairness and honesty were the rule, not the exception.
Over the next few blogs I want to explore what those universal values and principles mean in practice, and then ask you: will you join me in standing up for them and help to make the world sane again.