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The Common Good
"...there was born a jewel called the Earth and it gave birth to many human beings and a nearly infinite supply of fuel beneath their feet and in the forests and other flora that grew around them."

THEY TOOK WHAT THEY WANTED and assumed no responsibility for the land. In most instances they paid little or nothing for the coal and other minerals they harvested and left the land not as they found it, but as it was after their harvest.

NOW THAT THEY WERE WEALTHLY they and thousands of others ravaged the land for more wealth and couldn't be challenged since they had the wherewithall to own the governing bodies that could have regulated their actions.

It became gradually the story of civilization that wealth was concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. And important academic institutions taught in their business schools and law schools how to become more skilled at making money.

THE ULTIMATE PUZZLE that may never be answered is how such ravaaging of the Earth would have no lasting consequence. Even in places as beautiful as New England, the entire area was forested then clear cut and then abandoned.

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Strip Mining
NONE OF THIS implicates business in global warming, but it illustrates the disconnect between making money and taking care of the Earth.

This disconnect is pervasive and reflects the primacy of survival as the driving force behind human behavoir. In the May 2005 issue of the Harvard Business Review, the article How Business Schools Lost Their Way by Warren Bennis and James O’Toole attempts to illustrate the problems when business education becomes too narrowly technical and indicate this has been a widespread problem. Summing up their conclusions:

"[B]usiness education in this country is devoted overwhelmingly to technical training. This is ironic, because even before Enron, studies showed that executives who fail—financially as well as morally—rarely do so from a lack of expertise. Rather, they fail because they lack interpersonal skills and practical wisdom; what Aristotle called prudence.

Aristotle taught that genuine leadership consisted in the ability to identify and serve the common good. To do so requires much more than technical training. It requires an education in moral reasoning, which must include history, philosophy, literature, theology, and logic…. Lindsay estimates that, before the recent scandals, business students spent “95% of their time learning how to calculate with a view to maximizing wealth. Just 5% of their time…is spent developing their moral capacities.” To right that balance, the Dallas business school introduced liberal studies into the curriculum and initiated a series of intellectual and ethical exercises."
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