Editorial Reviews. caite.info Review. Business writer and thinker Umair Haque minces no Betterness: Economics for Humans is a powerful call to arms for a post-capitalist economy. Umair Haque argues that just as positive psychology. betterness economics for humans by frida alim, nate cardozo, gennie gebhart, kaliadownload the report as a caite.infoive summarystudents and their families. is Betterness: Economics for Humans. It's available as part of the Kindle Singles Program, or wherever e-books are sold, and is also a downloadable PDF on.
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Jump to: We will probably begin to make more eudaimonic choices if we are able to begin building mental models for our own lives about reaching higher peaks or eudaimonia themselves. To meet the new challenges of ultracompetitors requires organizations to learn how to become ultracompetitive. Our products and services may be competitive when measured against our rivals, but are they competitive when measured against the full spectrum of counterorganizations? It means a larger multiplier than rivals, more real wealth created per dollar, yen, or renminbi earned.
For more, see his blog on hbr. Download this podcast. He blogs for hbr. Umair, thanks for joining us today. So you open the book by talking about how the field of economics needs to make a shift.
Well, I think that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in economics. And let me summarize that to you by asking you a hypothetical question. Which is, if I was going to ask you, what do you think a good life— a meaningfully-good life— consists of, your answer to me would probably be about a lot more than money and stuff. It would probably be about a life that is rich in relationships, social capital.
Probably be about a life that is rich in terms of accomplishment, organizational capital. And I bet that your hypothetical answer to my little question would not be that far off the mark for many of our answers. But the paradox is that economics as we know it, and as we live it, does not really capture this conception of a good life. The idea of a good life, as we practice it, in economic terms, is very much about the idea of GPD.
And GDP is really about the amount of industrial output that an economy can conjure up. So we have a big gap in between these two conceptions.
So I think the question that this great crisis forces us to ask is, what is the point of an economy? Why do we do all this stuff? Why do the gears of exchange spin?
And I think what we need today is a much more nuanced and sophisticated answer to that question to keep prosperity going. And before we get into some of that aspects of that answer, I just want to underline.
If you look at the field of psychology, there was a paradigm shift that took place from what you might call negative psychology that was mostly about curing dysfunction, mostly about erasing the negative, to positive psychology, which is really a psychology of optimal functioning.
Healthy is a state where you achieve higher and higher peaks of functionality. So tell me a little bit about why you felt you had to reach out of the normal constraints of the English language there. Presumably, the point of an economy is to provide us with goods.
But are those really goods? If we go back in history to the kind of big bang that kicked off human organization and thinking about prosperity in a much more rational way, we end up, in my reading, with Aristotle. And for Aristotle, goods are not just stuff. The relationships, great accomplishment, meaning, fulfillment, passion, ethics, these are all goods.
Those are the things that real prosperity consists of. Because for the Greeks, a good life was not full. It was not meaningfully-rich if it just consisted of the stuff of opulence. It also required the stuff of relationships. It also required the human stuff.
It also required the stuff of great accomplishment. So their conception of richness was much more sophisticated and nuanced than ours, I think, in many ways.
And the idea with betterness is that maybe business is kind of a software for human exchange that is on its last lets. I would use another analogy, which I often use. I think that that is not a sufficient tool for us to achieve eudaimonic prosperity. I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the GDP question. And could you just walk us through that metaphor a little bit? The idea is that GDP is a little bit like a rev counter. And we have a very visceral example of that here in the States, where GDP has grown over the last 20, 30 years, but median incomes have not.
So then, in that case, who builds the speedometer? The result? Harvard profs stopped accepting gifts, and the structure of pharmaceutical marketing changed, just a tiny bit.
The lesson? Expand a small number of Harvard Med students to a metamovement of thousands of protests consisting of millions of people erupting across the globe, and you begin to get the picture of just how rapidly ultracompetition is intensifying.
To meet the new challenges of ultracompetitors requires organizations to learn how to become ultracompetitive. It requires a sea change in how to compete.
Our products and services may be competitive when measured against our rivals, but are they competitive when measured against the full spectrum of counterorganizations?
For mere businesses, the answer is almost always no. Already, economists at governments, universities, and international agencies are hard at work laying the groundwork for the next global economy. Its contours?
New systems of national accounts that explicitly count not just gross product, but the full spectrum of wealth creation. In the United States, the State of the USA project, under the guidance of the National Academy of Science, is starting to utilize hundreds of indicators to measure different kinds of wealth: When this great shift is complete, companies will face a new hurdle: Useless is useless.
Like a car that goes nowhere, a company that is useless to people, communities, the natural world, and future generations has no use.
Destroying the Common Wealth is easy, abundant, and cheap. It is what the vast majority of organizations do. Enhancing it, in contrast, is the scarcest, rarest, and single most disruptive capability an organization can possess. In this new landscape, next-level advantage is generative not just competitive. Poiesis--the root word of poetry--means to create, to generate. Creating wealth means adding to our metaphorical buckets, instead of emptying them--whether social, intellectual, human, emotional capital, or beyond.
From an economic perspective, generative advantage is about creating a surplus in authentic wealth, not just a skyrocketing share price. It means a larger multiplier than rivals, more real wealth created per dollar, yen, or renminbi earned. Creating wealth means igniting it in your constituencies, bringing forth their potential to live meaningfully better.
Taken to the limit, competitive advantage becomes the living expression of what economists call rent seeking. For example, retailers like Tesco compete by building land banks--hoarding prime locations to lock out rivals, while never building on them. Merely capturing more rent can never yield a surplus.
It is simply a transfer of value from you to Tesco. No marginal surplus of higher-order capital has been created.
Generative advantage and competitive advantage are like night and day. Adversarial, arrogant, and alienating, competitive advantage is often extractive.
It can be enjoyed without creating any wealth, and indeed, simply by transferring wealth from others. So where orthodox business seeks merely to capture rent from an existing surplus, betterness seeks to create an authentic surplus in real wealth. Jump to: Harvard Business Press Books, Contents.