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Kaizen Front Cover

Life Enabling Enterprise: An Alternative Approach to Commerce Volume 1: The Model and Other Critical Knowledge
by Raphael L. Vitalo, Ph.D., Christopher J. Bujak, B.S.M.E.

 

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Reviews


"Brilliant Research, Sobering Implications, and Hopeful Prescriptions"
Reviewer James S. Byron - Head, Organization Change Making, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

This book is an extraordinarily well researched examination of the empirical findings in the fields of economics and biological, medical, psychological, and evolutionary sciences that should underpin the commercial models that govern, shape and regulate the well-being of societies. This work is both enlightening and disturbing. It challenges our traditional thinking and dispels the crystallizing myths that govern our thinking about how our economy actually works and how it should work in order to meet our human needs.

The book also provides an innovative alternative approach to commerce that Vitalo and Bujak label, Life-Enabling Enterprise. They present both a well-developed conceptual model and operational guidance for conducting a commercial enterprise at every level of human and organizational performance, from governance and policy to procedural and process implementation. This approach offers individuals and society as a whole an empowering framework that is consistent with the deep investigation and findings from the last 50+ years of human performance outcomes research. Life- Enabling Enterprise is an inspiring and thorough account of what is possible to truly support the conditions that sustain human survival and enable the emergence of healthy people and cultures.

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A book that anyone who cares about others as well as themselves needs to read ...
Reviewer Richard Wheelband, F.I.M.L.T., A.R.T. (Retired)

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 become ignored.

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 money."

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A Blueprint for a Free Market Alternative to Capitalism ...
Reviewer Chris Holmberg - Founder, Middle Path Consulting

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 theory.

If the basic premises underlying capitalism are unsound, then what could an economic model based on proven theory look like and how would an enterprise 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.

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