[Weekly Word] Enough for all

Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015); editing by Allister Roy S. Chua (2015)
Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015); editing by Allister Roy S. Chua (2015)

ʃɛd ˈvaljuː |

If you go to Human Nature, you’ll see a mug there that artfully depicts the maxim “Less for self, more for others, enough for all.” It’s their philosophy. How much wisdom this philosophy holds, and how relevant it is for everyone!

Let’s face it, there are three facts that drive this maxim. One, you will be unable to bring your earthly possessions with you when you die (and, after all, if you go to heaven, God will provide everything eternally – transcendent of earthly needs). Two, any action we do ultimately has an effect on something or someone else (human or otherwise), positive or otherwise. Three, if you were on the receiving end of unfair business practices, you’d get furious too.

Shared value is all about ensuring that created wealth is fairly and equitably (take note, equitably not equally) distributed to all stakeholders. Everyone benefits at no one’s expense: the pie gets larger and everyone is able to take their own slice. Self-interest – or at least some of it – is done away with, for the sake of love for and kindness towards others who may not be as blessed. In Human Nature, for example, senior management willingly does away with very large salaries in favor of rank-and-file employees, who earn about 50% beyond minimum wage in Metro Manila – thereby reducing income inequality. This is opposed to high-profile controversies in the 1990s in the United States, where in huge corporations, lower-ranking staff’s salaries stagnated while those of top executives exponentially grew – eventually leading to the businesses’ collapses. Those in power did not think of sharing, focusing only on their self-interest, not realizing that their actions left others behind (or even trampled on them).

You may think, salary stagnation is not necessarily bad, at least they don’t go down. But everything around us increases – hello there inflation – and so in terms of value, salaries actually decrease. Remember, part of purpose is consciousness, consciousness towards money and others as part of it. We always need to be mindful of things, and shared value is one of the best ways to do so.

But for me, “less for self” isn’t so much on literally lessening what you get, but more on less self-interest: having a MINDSET that is more mindful, more conscious, more inclusive. I do believe it is completely possible for everyone to get more – “more for all” – and that, in fact, that should be the case for all. The whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts if you properly create true wealth in the name of higher purpose.

In the end, it’s all about creating a fair and just world for all, where opportunities are equally available to everyone. It is not about survival of the fittest, but creating an ecosystem of harmony, interdependence, and common purpose.

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