I have now read all of Volume 1, Life Enabling Enterprise as compared
with capitalism. As the authors' research reveals, many people behave
in other-regarding ways. Such people are not recognized by capitalism
that sees all of us as self-serving by nature. Capitalism to me has always
been a malignant manipulation of others for profit only. Hence, other
important human needs that science has documented humankind requires
The authors' research and presentation are immaculate. My question
is: will this alternative free-market approach to commerce they describe
fly? My earnest hope is that
it will fly. The cynical side of me says that the malignancy of self-serving
capitalism has now gone beyond the point of no return. I do hope that
I am wrong and that these authors' vision of a life-enabling enterprise
model will become well established.
The fact of "other-regarding" people has to me always been
in place. Such people are relatively benign and peace loving. This behaviour,
whilst comforting in many ways, has always been its Achilles heel that
capitalism has exploited. Probably the other-regarding behaviour of Homo
Sapiens is why we still thrive as a species today. Certainly, as this
book documents, evolutionary scientists think this is so. The non-other-regarding
(my words) elements of our society have always been there too. Thoughts
of us collectively being "beyond the point of no return," however,
have been bothering me, to say the least, particularly for the last 20
years. The authors' warning [in Chapter 16] is most pertinent to my concerns.
Capitalist companies seem to be more aggressive than ever in shutting
competitors down. Society is becoming deeply divided. Increased violence
is rearing its ugly head. Your readers would be far too naive to fail
to take this into account.
The book's appendices are also an important component of its contribution
to our understanding. I especially resonated with the section on page
500 that addressed "Reduced law enforcement" [of commercial
enterprises.] This has been watched by many including me. Governments
are becoming less involved in what I call "necessary control." The
reasons are complicated but the overriding reason is the influence of "big
The Life Enabling Enterprise by Raphael Vitalo and Christopher Bujak
is both a rigorous critique of capitalism in theory and application and
a detailed description of an alternative approach to commerce. The authors begin with a detailed and rigorously researched critique
of capitalism, first targeting its theoretical underpinnings and then
moving on to the social and political impacts of capitalism as the dominant
economic model. Along the way they cite numerous empirical studies disproving
unsupported "traditional wisdom" suggesting that capitalism
is the only common sense framework for commerce. Possibly the most basic
of these is the belief that people are fundamentally selfish and will
maximize economic benefit to themselves without regard for others. The
authors show numerous studies disproving this theory. If you have ever
had the feeling that capitalism is not working and longed for a strong
research base to substantiate those feelings, you'll love this section.
This isn't an emotional reaction to capitalism as an economic framework
but a philosophically sound and deeply research-based take down of the
If the basic premises underlying capitalism are unsound, then what
could an economic model based on proven theory look like and how would
based on the model be structured and operate? Here again, Vitalo and
Bujak don't skip steps. They begin with first premises - What is commerce?
What are the functions of a commercial framework? How would we know if
a framework works in practice? Only when these are answered do they go
on to build the "Life Enabling Enterprise" model. Supporting
their propositions at each step, they describe the strategic, operation,
and executive components of an enterprise built on the model. The level
of detail in describing each component, its purpose, how it is built,
and how its success can be measured is exhaustive. A business leader
wanting to apply the Life Enhancing Model to S/he organization would
have everything S/he would be left wanting little for the practical application
of the model.
The book ends with an appropriate warning. The authors take time explaining
the real-world implications of applying the model in markets where capitalistic
thinking predominates. Taking the path of the Life Enabling Enterprise
model will create active resistance amongst those whose identity and
enterprise are based on capitalistic thinking. Yet, even here, the authors
provide references to research that this approach is not just a "good" thing
to do, but one that will succeed economically.
||An Approach to Sustainable Commerce
That Promises the Survival of Humankind
|| Patricia V. Bierley - Global Organizational
This book provides an empirically based analysis of capitalism's faults,
offers prosocial humanity an alternative, and shows us how to grow and sustain
our own Life Enabling Enterprise.
Daily, we hear of, experience, or observe a select few people and companies
exploiting communities and the environment. Rightly, these insults incite
feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration. However, there are few academic
inquiries into the commercial system that condones and encourages this abuse.
There are even fewer that offer viable alternatives –until now.
The Life Enabling Enterprise: An Alternative Approach to Commerce systematically
analyzes the empirical assertions and assumptions of our current commercial
model: capitalism. Authors Vitalo and Bujak find limited support for capitalism
in the domains of economics, behavioral economics, anthropology, biology/sociobiology,
psychology, sociology, management science, and organizational effectiveness.
Instead, the evidence makes clear that capitalism is fatally flawed; its
core premise is invalid. Specifically, capitalism's foundation rests on
the supposition that humans behave universally in a self-interested manner.
The authors' research shows that this assumption is false. While a small
group acts with self-interest, humans are more frequently cooperative and
'other-regarding.' Capitalism's values and outcomes will always conflict
with the values of the latter group of humanity and why the authors developed
the Life Enabling Enterprise commercial model.
Vitalo and Bujak then provide an evidence-based, prosocial alternative.
They begin by defining commerce and the foundations of all commercial models.
Next, they detail the premises of their alternative to commerce: the Life
Enabling model. Unlike capitalism, the Life Enabling model's goal is to
conduct commerce in a manner that elevates and sustains all life. Critically,
the authors provide the comprehensive knowledge, guidance, and tools everyone
needs to structure, create, maintain, and grow their own Life Enabling Enterprise.
The book unveils in stark clarity how capitalism undermines our lives and,
ultimately, how it will destroy us. Reading en masse, the evidence
of harm is astounding and would be outright depressing if not for the Life
Enabling model shows us how we could create a lasting, vibrant, and healthy
society. It is meticulous, damning, empowering, and hopeful all at once.
It should be required reading for anyone studying business or economics,
business or community leaders, and equally, all prosocial humans.