Come gather round
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
Youll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin
Then you better start swimmin
Or youll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance wont come again
And dont speak too soon
For the wheels still in spin
And theres no tellin who
That its namin.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Dont stand in the doorway
Dont block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
Theres a battle outside
And it is ragin.
Itll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And dont criticize
What you cant understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you cant lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin
in the Age of Empire
Meaningful Capitalism: Change We
Can Believe In
Author of the International Best Seller,
Prisoners of Our Thoughts
17 December 2008
[see also comment by Alex Pattakos
on tamilnation.org website on 29 October 2006
together with response by tamilnation.org
"The Times They Are A-Changin," sang Bob Dylan,
which is one of his most famous title tracks for it
captured the spirit of social and political upheaval
that characterized the 1960s. Personally, this was a
coming of age period for me (i.e., my transition from
adolescence to adulthood); and, importantly, I was
able to experience first-hand the deeper meaning
behind Dylan's lyrics. Like today, I'm haunted by
feelings of deja vu as I write these words, the quest
for "change we can believe in" was a, if not the
most, commonly-shared mantra of the times.
Fast forward three decades, through many life
blessings and meaning moments, to when I was serving
as President of " Renaissance Business Associates"
(RBA), a nonprofit, international network of people
committed to advancing business integrity and
elevating the human spirit in the workplace. During
my tenure as president, RBA was active in Australia,
Canada, Europe, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United
The creation of RBA, in many ways, was a response
to a call by the influential American author, Marilyn
Ferguson, best known for her 1980 book, The Aquarian
Conspiracy, who envisioned the business "community"
as being on the vanguard for positive change in
society and the world. My involvement in RBA during
these years was influenced significantly by
Ferguson's vision and call to action. (Sadly, Marilyn
Ferguson died unexpectedly of an apparent heart
attack on October 19, 2008, but her legacy lives on.
To be sure, among her other qualities, Marilyn was a
"true optimist" and firm believer in human
So I must now ask: are we closer to a "New Age" in
business today than when The Aquarian Conspiracy was
first released in 1980 or when I was affiliated with
RBA in the 1990s? The current economic situation
notwithstanding, or maybe in light of the current
economic situation, is the business "community"
finally on the cusp of becoming the vanguard for
positive societal and global change after all? Can
and does the "audacity of hope" apply to the business
arena and corporate world? More fundamentally, is
there such hope for "Capitalism" in the postmodern
The HuffPost has provided a forum for expressing
different points of view related to the notion of
"Capitalism," to the inner workings of the
capitalistic "system," and to the "return on
investment" that, rightly and wrongly, results from
"free market" forces. In this regard, a quick search
reveals posts and discussions of "Conscious"
Capitalism, "Creative" Capitalism, "Disaster"
Capitalism, "Good" Capitalism, and "Responsible"
Capitalism, among others. There has also been
considerable attention paid to what is
commonly-referred to as "Corporate Social
Responsibility" (CSR) and the corollary emphasis on
corporate philanthropy. To be sure, I'm intrigued and
inspired by all of these perspectives on the topic
and am grateful to the many people who have
contributed to this important dialogue.
This said, l also consider myself to be a true
optimist and firm believer in human potential. And
much like Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends
2010 and one of the foremost trend trackers in the
United States, I would like to propose that the
corporate world of business is undergoing a major
transition, a kind of "moral transformation," that is
beginning to reshape Capitalism. And while this
transition may have started years ago (again, I'd
like to give credit to the catalytic influence of
Marilyn Ferguson), the current climate of creative
destruction in the global economy is likely to
accelerate the pace of change that is now desperately
needed. We may even soon see the presumed bedrock of
Capitalism, "greed," slowly fade into the past. Now
that's change we want to believe in!
However, is such a rosy outlook really justified, you
ask? You bet! As I have underscored many times
before, on this site and elsewhere, there is another
"megatrend" of the 21st Century, a proposition that
is reinforced by Aburdene's observations, that must
be taken into account: the search for meaning. This
human quest is not only pervasive (and
transformative) in more and more people's everyday
lives, but also is coming into play with greater
frequency and influence in their work lives. In my
book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, I make the argument
that the transformation of work in the 21st Century
is, in many respects, a call for humanity - a new
consciousness that strengthens trust in the
unconditional meaningfulness of life and the dignity
of the person. Moreover, by applying this
meaning-focused philosophy to the workplace, we can
more deeply humanize our working lives and bring
deeper meaning to work itself.
The same philosophy, I submit, can be applied on a
"macro" level to organizations in the corporate,
government, and nonprofit sectors. From the
perspective of a true optimist, it can even be used
to transform Capitalism along the lines advanced by
Ferguson, Aburdene, and other members of the vanguard
for positive, meaningful change! By integrating and
applying the truly "best practices" of companies and
businesses that have demonstrated how both doing good
and making a profit can be accomplished, a "New Age"
of Capitalism, whatever it may be called, is
possible. Come on folks, as Walt Disney used to say,
"If you can dream it, you can do it!" And if there
ever was a time not to give up on "dreams," this is
To avoid misrepresenting or having to choose among
any of the "new" forms or kinds of Capitalism that
are seriously being discussed to accomplish the
transformation agenda suggested here (and, naturally,
because I have been affectionately nicknamed, "Dr.
Meaning"), I propose that we call this new direction,
Meaningful Capitalism. Under this scenario, the
primary focus of the broadly-defined community of
stakeholders in the corporate, government, and
nonprofit sectors is on the will to meaning rather
than the "will to power" and its more primitive form,
the "will to money" (Please see my previous post on
this topic: "Living with Meaning: Realize Your Will
Moreover, I'm going to propose that, at a time
when the call for innovation can be heard loud and
clear, organizations in all sectors must commit
authentically to meaningful values and goals in order
to make a positive difference and create a better
world. Innovation for innovation's sake will not
achieve these goals. A new consciousness, "Innovating
with Meaning," will be required not only to meet the
pressing human needs of our time but also to build a
solid platform, framed by "Meaningful Capitalism,"
for the future.
Alright, you probably think that I'm nothing but a
"dreamer," if not totally out of my mind! Get real,
you say? "Capitalism, in any form, is evil at best."
"There is no such thing as a soul of a business."
"Corporations, by definition, have no conscience." I
hear you, but I'm still not convinced. Today,
especially in the United States with a new political
administration ready to take the helm, we're at the
dawn of a new era. Anything is possible; not only in
the way that we manage the "public's business" but
also in the way that the world of business, e.g.,
Corporate America, operates. Indeed, the time is ripe
for such a transformation to take place.
The discussions about and proposals for a "new"
kind of Capitalism provide evidence that such a
transformation is already in the works. Let's
capitalize (no pun intended) on these efforts with
all deliberate speed by keeping the dialogue going
and by spotlighting the initiatives that are
currently being made. Let's not be disillusioned by
the failings of the past but, instead, let's take
full advantage of this time of "destruction" and
"transition" by co-designing a more positive future
and a better world for all.
I'd love to hear your thoughts (and feelings) about
this pressing issue, so please submit your comments
and keep the conversation going. If you don't mind, I
have something else that I would like you to do. I
have the good fortune of collaborating with two
award-winning documentary filmmakers, Irene
Lilienheim Angelico and Abbey Jack Neidik (DLI
Productions, Montreal, Quebec, Canada), on an
exciting film project that will bring the concept of
this "new" kind of Capitalism to life by
demonstrating that it can and does work.
My colleagues, Irene and Abbey, and I would love
to have your input into this project. If you know of
companies that you think/feel may be examples of
Meaningful, Conscious, Creative, Good, or Responsible
Capitalism, please either submit their name(s) as a
comment to this post and/or send your suggestions to
me directly via email: [email protected]
. I invite you to join the dream! Don't forget, "the
times they are a-changin."