First, a small diversion from climatological difficulties:
Some mornings, a minor leak in the u-bend of my kitchen sink would leave a trail across the floor. It didn’t matter much while the winter air stayed dry and conducive to evaporation, but then the spring humidity hit. For 4 consecutive mornings the puddle got bigger, and I finally got the nerve to call my boss.
The next morning, violent pounding on the door of my apartment roused me. When I undid the various locks and swung the door open, I was met with bright light, an uncertain gaze, and twenty years of chain smoke. The man wore an unbuttoned red polo and a faded baseball cap. He was short and slight, and shifted uncertainly before saying something I didn’t understand. Then an English teacher colleague leaned out from behind the door, and pieces of my morning brain settled into a rough harmony. A plumber.
A three-way apologetic grin brushed the awkwardness away , and I guided my guests to the kitchen. After showing them the problem, the conversation quickly left me behind (pipe-related vocab is not something I’ve had the time to learn). Both I and the other English teacher, Lynn, left the plumber to his work, and a half hour later he left without a word. When I went to make my tea, this was the solution I found:
On a completely different note, in my reading of Gustave Speth’s America the Possible, I came across the Tellus Institute’s Corporation 20/20 Project, whose goal is “to develop and disseminate a vision, pathway for the 21st century corporation in which social purpose moves from the periphery to the heart of the organization.” Here are six principles that they suggest for future corporate design (in quotes are their principles, the rest are my notes from America the Possible‘s discussion:
- “The purpose of the corporation is to harness private interests to serve the public interest” May be launched to serve private interest, but public interests will prevail when the two conflict
- “Corporations shall accrue fair return for stakeholders, but not at the expense of the legitimate interests of other stakeholders” Shareholder gains cannot be achieved by shifting costs onto other stakeholders—employees, the environment, future generations
- “Corporations shall operate sustainably, meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”/thrive
- “Corporations shall distribute their wealth equitably among those who contribute to wealth creation” Profits could be shared to employees, community, gov’t/society
- “Corporations shall be governed in a way that is participatory, transparent, ethical, and accountable” Participatory meaning employees,community members, other stakeholders select some proportion of board members
- “Corporations shall not infringe on the right of natural persons to govern themselves nor infringe on other universal human rights” Corporations must accept that gov’t is accountable to the people and the democratic process