Conscious Capitalism – Another View

Conscious capitalism has been touted as a moral transformation of capitalism, going beyond the social responsibility of capitalism to increase shareholder profit. According to Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism:

“We’ve now become conscious of the uncalculated social, economic, and environmental costs of that kind of ‘unconscious’ capitalism. And many are beginning to practice a form of ‘conscious capitalism,’ which involves integrity and higher standards, and in which companies are responsible not just to shareholders, but also to employees, consumers, suppliers, and communities. Some call it “stakeholder capitalism.”

She sums it up by saying, “The core value of conscious capitalism is enlightened self-interest.” I would say that enlightened self-interest means something like when your company’s standards are such that they care for and are accountable to those who work for them, their community and the world at large, success is likely to follow. But do not forget, self-interest is still self-interest.

My point? You see corporate is corporate is corporate no matter how you slice it – unconscious or conscious and no matter how you dress it up. Few would disagree that corporations drive the economic model called capitalism and capitalism serves the concentration of wealth. Taking it one step further, wealth is power and the concentration of wealth historically has equaled the concentration of power.

Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin speaks the unspeakable in his essay, Anti-capitalism in 5 Minutes or Less :

“Capitalism is not a choice, but rather simply is, like a state of nature. Maybe not like a state of nature, but the state of nature. To contest capitalism these days is like arguing against the air that we breathe. Arguing against capitalism, we’re told, is simply crazy.”

He continues:

“Capitalism is admittedly an incredibly productive system that has created a flood of goods unlike anything the world has ever seen. It also is a system that is fundamentally (1) inhuman, (2) anti-democratic, and (3) unsustainable. Capitalism has given those of us in the First World lots of stuff (most of it of marginal or questionable value) in exchange for our souls, our hope for progressive politics, and the possibility of a decent future for children.”

I highly recommend you read the entire short essay. I want to focus on his number 2, that capitalism is anti-democratic. From my observation, capitalism and true democracy are not unlike mixing oil and water. No matter how hard you try, they just don’t mix.

Ever notice that a man or woman cannot become a serious presidential candidate unless they are millionaires plus have a huge million-dollar plus campaign fund? That’s capitalism, folks, not democracy. Just think of how many great candidates there could be if big bucks were not pivotal criteria.

American Heritage Dictionary – Cite This Source

de·moc·ra·cy (dĭ-mŏk’rə-sē) Pronunciation Key

n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies

* 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

* 2. A political or social unit that has such a government.

* 3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.

* 4. Majority rule.

* 5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Again, Robert Jensen says it best:

“For all the trappings of formal democracy in the contemporary United States, everyone understands that the wealthy dictate the basic outlines of the public policies that are acceptable to the vast majority of elected officials.

People can and do resist, and an occasional politician joins the fight, but such resistance takes extraordinary effort. Those who resist win victories, some of them inspiring, but to date concentrated wealth continues to dominate. Is this any way to run a democracy?

If we understand democracy as a system that gives ordinary people a meaningful way to participate in the formation of public policy, rather than just a role in ratifying decisions made by the powerful, then it’s clear that capitalism and democracy are mutually exclusive.”

The real kicker is when you uncover that the U.S. government itself is actually a for-profit corporation! The Act of 1871 or An Act to Provide a Government of the District of Columbia on February 21, 1871 formed a corporate entity named THE UNITED STATES for the 10 mile area of The District of Columbia. The original Constitution drafted by the Founding Fathers was “The Constitution for the united states of America”. But over time, the original Constitution morphed into a corporate constitution “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” with the power of the corporate entity established in 1871 gradually extending its legal jurisdiction over The District of Columbia to the entire 50 states!

O.K. here’s the logic. Corporations are the engines of capitalism and capitalism is generally accepted as a wealth-concentrating economic model. Therefore given that our government is a corporation, it also functions on the capitalistic economic model and is motivated by the possibilities of wealth concentration!

Get the picture?

Almost no one learns this piece of significant history about our country in school. Read the whole story in Lisa Guliani’s article: The United States Isn’t a Country; It’s a Corporation!

Connecting these dots is all-important to gain insight into why even conscious capitalism is pretty much a crock when it comes to the personal and financial well-being of the majority of Americans, the “little individual”.

In our corporate-dominated world (including the corporate government) enlightened and un-enlightened self-interest rules. Remember: self-interest is still and will forever be self-interest. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to admit that the best interest of the “little individual” is not factored in to the capitalistic economic model no matter how green or supposedly enlightened.

Think about it.

Truthfully, we can never expect corporate capitalism to truly care about what is in our best interest. How come? There are two Americas. The corporate one and the people (grassroots) and never the two shall meet no matter how hard you try.

Via the under reported strategy of incrementalism, corporate interests have blurred the line between the two (over time) to confuse and use you towards self-serving interests of wealth concentration.

Real answers to the financial challenges so many millions of Americans face today are outside-the-box. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time”.

Explore the economic road less traveled; one for you and me.

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Emerging Trends In Customer Relationship Management

INTRODUCTION

The biggest management challenge in the new millennium of liberalisation and globalization for a business is to serve and maintain good relations with the king-the customer. In the past, producers took their customers for granted because at that time customers were not demanding nor had many alternative sources of supply or suppliers. Since he was a passive customer, the producer dictated terms and had little customer commitment. But today there is a radical transformation. The changing business environment is characterised by economic liberalisation, increasing competition, high consumer choice, enlightened and demanding customer, more emphasis on quality and value of purchase.

All these changes have made today’s producer shift from traditional marketing to modern marketing. Modern marketing calls for more than developing a product, pricing it, promoting it and making it accessible to target customers. It demands building trust, a binding force and value added relationship with the customers to win their hearts. The new age marketing aims at winning customers for ever, where companies greet the customers, create products to suit their needs, work hard to develop life time customers through the principles of customer delight, approval and enthusiasm.

WHAT IS CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT ( CRM )

The process of developing a cooperative and collaborative relationship between the buyers and sellers is called customer relationship management shortly called CRM.

CRM aims at focusing all the organizational activities towards creating and maintaining a customer. CRM is a new technique in marketing where the marketer tries to develop long term collaborative relationship with customers to develop them as life time customers. CRM aims to make the customer climb up the ladder of loyalty.

CUSTOMER FOCUS IN BANKING SERVICES

As the intense competition becomes a way of doing business, it is the customer who calls the shot in deciding the nature of products and services offered in the market. The customers are becoming demanding, dominant and selective. In fact the perceptions and the expectations of the customers have undergone a sea change, with the availability of banking services to the customers at their door steps through the help of technology.

Marketing of customer services aims at two important goals: prosperity to the bank and satisfied customers. Banks offer tangible services like loan schemes, interest rates and kinds of account and the intangible services like behavior and efficiency of staff, speed of transactions and the ambience. The banks may need to include customer oriented approach or customer focus in their five areas of businesses such as Cash accessibility, asset security, money transfer, deferred payment and financial advices.

There are four strategies available to customer relations’ managers:

o To win back or save customers

o To attract new and potential customers

o To create loyalty among existing customers and

o To up sell or offer cross services.

The future of banking business very much depends upon the ability of the banks to develop close relationship with the customers. In order to develop close relationship with the customers the banking industry has to focus on the technology oriented innovations that offer convenience to the customers. Today customers are offered ATM services, access to internet banking and phone banking facilities and credit cards. These have elevated banking beyond the barriers of time and space.

MARKETING OF BANKING SERVICES

Marketing of banking services means organizing right activities and programmes in rendering right services to the right people at the right place, at the right time at the right price and with right communication and promotion. Marketing of banking services embrace the following unique features

o Intangibility-they cannot be seen or possessed physically but can only be experienced.

o Inseparability-their production and consumption occur simultaneously.

o Variability-they are highly variable depending on the merit of customers.

o Perishability -they cannot be stored.

GLOLBALISED SCENARIO

“Change” is a continuous process and banking industry is no exception to this natural law. Change in the Indian banking industry is inevitable due to the implementation of the financial sector reforms and policies in the country. The main objective of financial sector reforms is to promote an efficient, competitive and diversified financial system in the country. Indian banking industry has undergone tremendous transformation after liberalization and globalisation process initiated from 1991. These changes have forced the Indian banking industry to adjust the product mix to effect the rapid changes in their process to remain competitive in the globalised environment.

COMPETITION FROM FOREIGN BANKS AND NEW PRIVATE SECTOR BANKS

The entry of more and more foreign banks and new private sector banks, with lean and nimble footed structure, better technology, market orientation and cost effective measures, have intensified the competition in the Indian banking industry. Financial Institutions have also started entering into the domain of banks. In recent years, the share of business of public sector banks has declined considerably. So there is a compelling need for the Indian banking industry to modify its marketing strategy to attract the customers and to withstand the stiff competition from foreign banks and new private sector banks.

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT

The advent of technology both in terms of computers and communications has drastically altered the methodology of banking business. In the banking sector, the technology has opened new vistas and in turn has brought new possibilities for doing the same work differently and in a most cost-effective manner. Technology helps to have 24 hours a day banking, all seven days in a week. Tele banking, Internet banking and E-banking have opened new business potentials and opportunities which hither to remained unexplored. All these technological advancement may pave the way for home banking rather than branch banking.

INNOVATION

Another important force of change in the Indian banking sector is innovation. Banks are innovative, pro-active now-a-days and offer top class service to customers. They play a dynamic role not only as a provider of finance but also as a departmental store of finance. As a result of this, new products like merchant banking, mutual funds, leasing, factoring, forfeiting, corporate advisory services and venture capital are emerging. These innovative services may augment revenue with cost effective measures.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE SKILLS OF BANK PERSONNEL

To meet the new challenges, banks have to devise novel ways of meeting the customer’s demands. To help the banking staff to get sufficient exposure to technology, suitable packages relating to hardware and software applications in relation to their works are to be provided. Further, a separate marketing wing may be created in every bank to market their banking services. They must be trained suitably to keep pace with the changing environment. In order to meet the challenges, the Human Resource Department in banks have to prepare appropriate manpower plans and strategies.

CONCLUSION

The recent trend of globalisation and liberalization has posed serious problems to domestic banks. The entry of new foreign banks and private sector banks with their advanced knowledge base of automation in the banking operations and aggressive marketing strategies has pushed public sector banks to a tight corner. Potential customers have started moving towards foreign banks and private sector banks. To survive and succeed, banks must identify their marketing areas, develop adequate resources, convert these resources into healthy and efficient services and distribute them effectively satisfying the manifold tastes of customers.

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