From Homo-Sapiens to Homo-Economicus

evolutionBy Okello Okello

Is it right to view human beings as assets? The answer could both be Yes or No. If the former, then how do we need to translate the value of each and every person? If the latter then how do we view human beings especially employees? And what does economics say about value and utility of a person? Is there scarcity in the number of performers out there?

The father of modern economics “Adam Smith,” answered this dilemma in his book, “The theory of moral sentiments.” Smith proposes the ability to form moral judgements, in spite of man’s natural inclinations towards self-interest. He talks of theory of sympathy, in which the act of observing others makes people aware of themselves and the morality of their own behavior”. Could he be talking about “Golden rule in a way?”  Your guess is as good as mine.

Utility has been widely defined as the ability of a good or a service to satisfy human wants. To every entrepreneur, their need is to induce effective change in the society. Often times as entrepreneurs, we slip from this goal to gains that come with innovations and that is the foundation of treating employees not as human beings but as tools of gains.

Great leaders mark their boundaries and limits on how much they need to push for  employees to work. This can be practiced best when there is ethics at work place.  Ethics, from the Greek word “ethos” meaning “Character”, is the philosophy of systematic defending and recommending  the does and don’t s within a moral realm.  This concept is very crucial in the line of economics where most entrepreneurs, innovators, managers, leaders, professionals and market controllers trade.

To understand this concept best, we need to know that morality and ethics goes beyond subjective views of an individual. Two wrongs don’t make a right and whatever is wrong in a market place cannot be right anywhere else. Leaders should always be in a position to practice, “Goodness-fairness and justice.” These three can lead to greater productivity if employees feel loved and cared for than if they are treated unfairly.

The World Council of Churches in 1948 once said “A responsible society is one where freedom is the freedom of men who acknowledge responsibility to justice and public order, and where those who hold political authority or economic power are responsible for its exercise to God and the people whose welfare is affected.” As leaders, we are responsible for the people we lead and therefore being just and treating employees with love can help us get to another level not as individuals but as organizations.

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