Terry Cutler: the dearth and decline of innovation

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Terry Cutler: the dearth and decline of innovation

Postby HVPA_research » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:44 am

In this Crikey article . Terry Cutler: the dearth and decline of innovation Terry Cutler discusses the need for innovation - Austria need to innovate in order to grow and compete on the global world stage. All this is good and reliable motherhood stuff. However, the author is rather critical of businessmen who are comfortable with what they have and refuse to grow:
We also have a cultural problem. Too many of our business owners or managers have what we might describe as a lifestyle approach to business. Even many of our so-called success stories look like under-performers when benchmarked globally. This lifestyle model of business strategy imposes a false ceiling on ambition: success is having the designer car in the garage, and the holiday home or two


Most of the commentators agreed with this traditional spirit fortunately there was one who had a different opinion and argued that "growth for growth sake " is not everything. Here is this excellent comment quoted in full.

Jonathan Maddox
Posted Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

I commend those business owners who are happy with the results they are achieving for themselves and their workers, and who do not wish to commit their lives, their souls and their wealth to growth for its own sake.

If the only priority for every business was growth for growth’s sake, all businesses would have the same culture, and the world would be an extremely dull place.

Businesses do not need to exist only for the sake of growth. They may have other purposes : to make the founders rich is often the reason for setting up a business in the first place, but it’s a legitimate choice for owners not to make profit maximisation their first priority. I understand that the directors of listed for-profit companies have a legal fiduciary duty to maximise profits, but privately-held businesses are not under the same constraint. Nor, obviously, are non-profit organisations.

Growth is not in itself an evil and it can indeed be a positive good. But it has many possible negative consequences. To date, economic growth has always gone hand in hand with growth in resource consumption; that growth *cannot* carry on infinitely on a finite planet or in a finite universe (as some resources are not renewable and there are limits to the production of the renewable ones).

Our end-goals should be other, better, higher things than profits. If we’re obliged to pursue economic growth at all costs just to keep pace with other resource-destroying capitalists of our finite planet, we may as well just all kill ourselves now.
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