17 April 2009

The grown up corporation

The alternative to a culture of corporate growth is a culture of corporate growing up, of adulthood and maturation. Absent that, the impulse to grow becomes an impulse to obesity that manifests as over-compensation and the insulation of the leadership from the rigors of the workforce, and an impulse to cosmetic surgery that manifests as the fictitious inflation of asset values through financial engineering and the irresponsible risking of the shareholder's long term value.

To grow-up is to accept the responsibilities of stewardship, of succession, of preserving the status quo for the sake of the next generation. That is the quintessence of up-grown-edness. To be a grown-up is to be done with the self-involvement of adolescent youth and to be ready to bear and to rear the next generation. It is to be willing to grow in and down and not out and around. It is, in the end, to be willing to let go. That letting go must be built in periodically into the functioning of the social order. In the case of sheviit, the sabbatical year, it is the letting go of the land; in the case of shemitta, debt forbearance, it is the letting go of political rule.

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