Monday, March 23, 2009

Values or Profits?

I am certainly not an economist but I often ponder in my more thoughtful moments whether we have our priorities right about profits versus people. I was alerted to the following report by the Reverend Nicky Gumbel the well known leader of the world famous Alpha Course, and currently the vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London.

Annie and I have been fortunate enough to meet Nicky briefly on a few occasions when we've visited HTB. If you get the chance to listen to Nicky - regardless of your religious beliefs - I am sure you will find him a brilliant and inspiring speaker.

‘The Good Childhood Inquiry’
was published last month by an independent panel commissioned by the Children's Society. The extract below says it all about values and maybe tells us a lot about why we have ended up with the greed that has contributed to the world financial crisis we now face.

“The aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is now the greatest threat to British children. According to the panel, "excessive individualism" is to blame for many of the problems children face and needs to be replaced by a value system where people seek satisfaction more from helping others rather than pursuing private advantage.”

I agree 100% with that conclusion.

My question; what values are we – as role models - teaching our kids?


J.KANNAN said...

A thought provoking topic- Yes to me its "Values" first. If ones values are good & ethical, the profit one makes out of ones engagement(work) will also turn and prove to be good and ethical.

I am keen to read the speeches of Revered Nicky Gumbel. Is his speeches are available for down looads? May be you can give his site links to visit.

And now with your generosity I may kindly be permitted to add with this comments a very small article I have written way back in Feb 2006 and I think, my beloved readers's will like and enjoy reading it and should help to a great extend to wipe out the threats of British Children as indicated.


Remixing ancient values, traditions, heritage and culture with modern out look of living looses the aesthetics of healthy, ethical, fruitful and purposeful living and it is shamelessly being titled and called- Modern Living in the Modern Era and in the modern world. What an agrravative and emphatic situation?

Who has to bear and own the responsibility for this state of undesirable situation: -

Yes- every one owns their share of this responsibility, which I earnestly and with humility would like to term as our DEBT. Yes we created this DEBT in the world and it is we alone are responsible to eliminate and do away with this DEBT. Once this DEBT is cleared you will see people living in equity surrounded by the above mentioned richest of ingredients of living.

How to achieve this?

Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE as Napoleon used to think. With joint efforts followed by clear interaction and earnestness coupled with Napoleon way of thinking- the undesired modernity in living can certainly be routed out & make this world a beautiful place to live graciously

Initiate good values of living from the very child hood- and for those grown up and missed the opportunity of being initiated follow the right method of counseling at the required intervals. There is no problem with that section of human that have inherited these qualities by virtue of their good luck and circumstances under which they lived and grown up- they are indeed lucky and blessed ones. For those who could not for obvious reasons inherit these qualities need to be inculcated in them in the right manner. Parents and teachers will find it easier than other three categories being in a position to easy access to children/pupil and by and large parents and teachers have their own driven initiative for this. The society can also make its contribution appropriately in a desired manner with the efforts and interaction of parents and teachers. This may cover up say about less than 50% of the needy. The remaining needs to be taken care of by leaders and rulers-they play a vital role in building up good citizens, good nation and a good world. It’s so simple for these leaders and rulers to achieve this provided they possess the ancient values, traditions, heritage, and culture within them.

My dear friends be cautious and careful while selecting your leaders and electing your rulers. Is there any other better solution? I shall welcome it for spreading amongst people of the Society.

Thank you all.


Pops said...

Trevor, thanks for this post, you've brought out an important point.

I believe this is the message of the Sermon on the Mount - recalibration. What we value is success above all, but what we should value is contentment above all. This would solve much of the world's ills and has been a recurring theme for me at and my whole life change effort at

I look forward to reading Rev. Gumbel's messages, thank you again for pointing them out!


Trevor Gay said...

JK – If you go to this link you will be able to hear all of Nicky’s sermons – they are brilliant! You can either download the talk or you can listen to it as an audio broadcast.

Other sermons by other speakers are also very good but I would recommend you look for sermons by Nicky and I know you will not be disappointed.

Annie and I went to the service n 1st March when Nicky’s sermon was called
"The Urgency of the Vision in an Economic Downturn"

You can hear that sermon at this link

Your words are as beautiful as always JK about the values of living –thank you so much I’m sure many people will gain much joy from your words

Trevor Gay said...

Tim – many thanks for your superb comments and needless to say I am with you 100%.

The links to Nicky Gumbel’s downloadable sermons at HTB are given above in my reply to JK and I am sure you will enjoy listening to them. Nicky is a wonderful warm hearted and humble man who has an amazing talent for communicating a message powerfully and yet simply.

I would love to know if you enjoy listening to Nicky’s message Tim.

Scott Peters said...


I so much agree with the post on values or profits. However, on the flip, and to create more discussion and thought, I'm tired of (at least in the States) of this "everybody win" bailout attitude from little league sports to Wall Street. My kid is in a developmental sports program and the league doesn't keep score or standings. According to the league, everybody's a winner at that age (even though all the kids and parents keep score and know if they won or lost).

And how about Wall Street? We can't let these companies fail because everyone is a winner or other people will lose. I don't understand the logic?

Read the story below, which may be urban legend, internet bs, but it may get you to think...

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student, but had once failed an entire class.

The class (students) insisted that socialism worked since no one would be poor and
no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism."

"All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A."

After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who had studied hard were upset while the students who had studied very little were happy.

But, as the second test rolled around, the students who had studied little
studied even less and the ones who had studied hard decided that since they
couldn't make an A, they also studied less. The second Test average was a D.

No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average grade was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling, all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else.

To their great surprise all failed. The professor told them that socialism
would ultimately fail because the harder people try to succeed the greater
their reward (capitalism) but when a government takes all the reward away
(socialism) no one will try or succeed.

I believe that there are positives and negatives to capitalism and socialism. A good mix, and people who can manage the mix, would be healthy.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Scott and thanks for sharing that story. I can see the logic of the argument and of course critics of socialism will argue that it lowers everyone’s expectations and ‘averages out’ everything.

I might argue on the other hand the capitalism theory that money will trickle down to the poorest in society is a total fairy story invented by rich people to make them feel better about their wealth.

I guess I will always have socialist leanings and of course I do see weaknesses in socialism. The biggest strength to me of socialism is the re-distribution of wealth. I have seen yet again TV documentaries over the last few weeks about severe poverty in African countries where we hear that on our one planet 20,000 people, mainly children, die EVERY DAY due to extreme poverty.

At the same time I see obscene individual wealth paid to people who led disastrous scandalous failures in banking and financial institutions.

I see the ‘richest’ countries where capitalism is the driver going bankrupt if we are perfectly honest. I see government money – i.e. our money - bailing out the abysmal failure of capitalism.

I tend to agree with you that the best of socialism and the best of capitalism is the ideal solution but sadly I see no evidence that will emerge.

It just cannot be right that we spend more on ice cream in Europe each year than it would cost to provide a primary education for every child in the world.

A fascinating discussion and confrontational politics will not answer the problems I guess. Let’s start to see politicians of all parties and all dogmas working together for real solutions.

I will keep dreaming …..…..

dave wheeler said...


Scott's point is an excellent one indeed. The mantra in public education is to have high expectations and believe that all have the capacity to succeed. This message is diluted by the many of the other societal messages out there. I coach and development my team to provide them feedback to increase their capacity to excel. Lose a football or baseball game and the feedback is it will identify some opportunities to get better. Imperfect practice makes perfect. I coached Little League and Pop Warner football for years and always found kids don't like losing and used the "coaching" to get better. Feedback is a marvelous thing...

J.KANNAN said...

Scott- An excellent story very well narrated and conveys good ideas and I totally view it as a positive outlook and approach that you had mentioned in the last paragraph in the comments.

Wall Street’s walls are made pretty weak by vested interests and that’s the reason many company’s “-.FAIL AND FALL”- hitting the US economy under the belly-to me this is the simple logic.Wait and watch the wall's will become stronger as Obama is aiming at it.

Trevor- You are right that richest country’s capitalism has already gone bankrupt to a great extend and is continuing the same trend. Can we count to know how many people are with honesty, integrity and loyalty towards their respective countries – a very few. I would like to put it this way “Our money is being drained out” due to unethical conduct and practice by governments,bureocrats and certain sections of busines communities(with very rare exceptions) as I don’t wish to make a “Sweeping Statement”

Dave- Fantastic and very good, the way you are coaching and developing your team with feed back to excel in their performance. In every area of work feedback is indispensable factor for bettering performance by eliminating flaws.

And finally:-

I feel it, ideal at this juncture to re-call and read a post titled “Business Ethics & practice” posted by Trevor in Simplicity Blog on 25 Sep 2008 and its comments.


Trevor Gay said...

Hi Dave and Scott – what a great discussion and thanks so much for raising this.

As far back as I can remember I was ultra-competitive in all sports and in fact I now realise that carries over into my life and my work. I am still competitive and I don't like losing. There are ‘losers’ wherever there are ‘winners.’ It does not mean however that if we ‘lose’ we are a ‘failure.’

For instance the one athlete who wins the Gold medal in the Olympic 100 metres final in 2012 does not make all other sprinters ‘failures.’

The most important thing about ‘losing’ is what we learn from the experience. Losing is not all bad – it is a valuable lesson.

Trevor Gay said...

JK – I remember your posting very well back in September last year and it is worth revisiting. Most commentators on the world economy seem to agree we have ended up in the state we are in because of corporate and personal greed.

I suspect the biggest part of the story is because business has not acted within an ethical framework.

Scott Peters said...

Through our nature, we are wired to win, conquer, survive, destroy, kill, produce, and everything else that comes with our disposition. (Capitalism)

On the other hand, we've had prophets (my favorite being Christ) who have taught us important lessons to overcome our impulses, our desires, our wants if you will. To look out for others, to help the Samaritan, to not turn our backs on lepers, prostitutes, and thieves.(Socialism)

These two worlds can exist together and the lessons must be driven by those who come to preach, to blog, to invest, to run businesses.

We can have our cake and eat it too, but this must begin with those who are leading the charge, and people.

JK----I believe that Obama will leave us better equipped to look out for our children, to regulate the greed of humanity (Capitalism) through the Treasury Department, and to strive for more peace and less dominance. If we bring many troops home, that will stimulate the economy further.

Good dialog and thanks to those contributing. Trevor, I agree with you on many points; however, I also understand your complete pleasure with dominance and winning by Manchester United. I doubt they would want to share the title win anybody...

Trevor Gay said...

"Trevor, I agree with you on many points; however, I also understand your complete pleasure with dominance and winning by Manchester United. I doubt they would want to share the title win anybody..."

Absolutely Scott - especially not share it with the old enemy Liverpool. You learn fast my friend about our great national game :-)