The seminal work on Conscious Capitalism was written by CIW Board Chair John Mackey and Executive Board Member Prof. Raj Sisodia.
At once a bold defense and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for a new system for doing business, Conscious Capitalism is for anyone hoping to build a more cooperative, humane, and positive future.
Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue that both business and capitalism are inherently good, and they use some of today’s best-known and most successful companies to illustrate their point. From Southwest Airlines, UPS, and Tata to Costco, Panera, Google, the Container Store, and Amazon, today’s organizations are creating value for all stakeholders—including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.
Read this book and you’ll better understand how four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management—can help build strong businesses, move capitalism closer to its highest potential, and foster a more positive environment for all of us.
The Conscious Capitalism Movement
Most movements have their iconic images or foundation stories: For the civil rights movement it could be Rosa Parks on a bus, or the Selma march; for the human potentials movement, it’s surely Esalen. Adam Smith’s pin factory provides an image for the advantages to be gained from economies of scale enabled by capitalism. For the new movement known as conscious capitalism, the foundation story has to be the great flood on Memorial Day, 1981.
Whole Foods had been in existence for just eight months in one store on Lamar Avenue in Austin when a hundred year flood sank the store under eight feet of water. After eight months of modest success, the store, under-capitalized but thriving, was wiped out, all of the inventory and equipment destroyed.
Then an amazing series of events unfolded.
Welcome to Conscious Capitalism
This section of the Conscious Entrepreneur portal is influenced by John Mackey’s and Raj Sisodia’s great book on Conscious Capitalism. John and Raj cite Marc Gafni twice in ways which capture why Conscious Capitalism is so important to the Center for Integral Wisdom.
The paragraphs below are some brief excerpts from Marc’s citations in the book (transcribed and summarized from his welcome message):
We are powerfully re-visioning the role of business in society. Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other force in history, and it’s done so through voluntary exchange rather than coercion.
Communism tried to do so by coercive means and ended up killing millions of people in the process. By ameliorating poverty, the values in the Great Traditions are enacted and a gateway opens for growth. It opens a gateway for human beings to grow morally, socially, spiritually.
Now, for the first time in history, business is awakening to itself for the first time in history, bringing more community, mutuality, and profit by engaging everyone in the system. By becoming conscious, business can create more community and mutuality and paradoxically more profit by engaging everyone in the system.
Narratives are the stories that infuse our lives with meaning. The true narrative of business is creating places for people to build relationships and transform society. The majority of people work through some form of business, but the narrative is that it’s manipulative and corrupt. Therefore most people experience themselves as furthering greed and exploitative.
What happens when people experience themselves that way? They become that way.
By changing the narrative, people will realize they are part of the force of positive transformation in history, they change. Through conscious capitalism, the economic driver of society becomes a potent force for the evolution of the Good, True, Beautiful.
Power is a quality of essence; it is gorgeous. Corporations offer opportunities for moving beyond first-level consciousness and allow us to talk about genuine esteem and self-actualization.
In this new evolutionary emergent, business awakens to its potential when capitalism moves beyond its many corruptions and shadows. Conscious capitalism articulates a vision to make corporations into great cathedrals of spirit in our time.
Workshop on Conscious Capitalism
In 2014, Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni held a workshop on Conscious Capitalism at Nyenrode Business University.
Dr. Marc Gafni, Ken Wilber (on skype), and Prof. Dr. Paul de Blot explored the following questions:
- What are the three core principles of running a conscious capitalist business?
- What is the difference between the shareholder model and the stakeholder model and why it matters?
- Why is it essential for the success of a company that the company is able to identify its Unique self?
- What are the three reasons that changing the perception of business in the modern world is essential to the success of business?
- Why is the evolution of business from unconscious to conscious capitalism essential to the financial bottom line of a company?
Watch the workshop here: