The Value of Values

In the November 12, 2014 edition of the International New York Times, the columnist David Brooks reviewed the economic progress made by Soviet bloc countries since the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. The progress is uneven. There are reasons why some countries are “catching up” and others will take 50 or 60 years before they return to the economic levels they experienced before the fall of communism.”

Research on the return on investment of CSR is not yet conclusive although many believe that in addition to the moral responsibility of the corporation there is a measurable long-term financial return on investment. Brooks cites economist Branko Milanovic’s essay that analyzed the east bloc countries under communist control over the 25-year period, and found only 5 that successfully made the transition to capitalism.

According to Brooks, “Finally, and most important, there is the level of values. A nation’s economy is nestled in its moral ecology. Economic performance is tied to history, culture and psychology.” “Poland for example has a keen sense of justice, and value education and social mobility.”

While still not conclusive, Milanovic offers another piece of powerful evidence about the return on investment for countries, and I would say companies and individuals who place a high value on values.

James Abruzzo, Consultant, Consulting, Executive Search, Nonprofit Compensation, Expert Witness, Values

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