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Last Update: Wednesday February 19, 2020

Key Idea: Be The Adult In The Room

Running a business means you have the weight of it on your shoulders. You may have smart, creative people on your team but when everyone has gone home for the day, you will still be there. Michael Novak says that capitalism is good for the soul and he means that you become a better person when you take on the responsibility of leading employees and pleasing customers.   Homepage   Music 

Key Question:


You have to be responsible for the business culture and that includes the integrity of your products and services and  the quality of all of your relationships.

Michael Novak quotes the Bible when he says, "Man does not live by bread alone."
He is goes back to what he said about the difference between self-interest, which is good, and greed, which is bad. We recognize that all successful businesses are built on a foundation of successful relationships. Customer relations, employee relations and vendor relations, we must have all three to excel. These relationships are based on trust, mutual respect, and fair play. Businesses that don't understand this are not around very long. It is never just about the money (the bread). It's always about the people. 

Think about it

How does your business benefit the souls of those it touches?

Clip from: Capitalism: Path to Prosperity

Washington, DC:   What are the essential foundations of life, liberty, freedom, and human rights?   The USA as a working experiment is a good model to study.  Here we can study the earliest documents and concepts and see how these also became the foundations for American capitalism.  Within this structure, we can see how just about any family can get on a path to economic independence.

Meet Michael Novak, a man whose life study is of the foundations of government systems that work. And here he discovered small business has the heart and spirit that sustains and nurtures democratic capitalism.   Michael Novak strikes deep into the heart of public debate about what works and what doesn't work within economic systems, and he says that small business owners are demonstrators. They're on the front lines, risking and fighting the good fight every day. Small business owners take lofty principles and reduce them to nitty-gritty practice.

As a people, the debate about capitalism should no longer be the domain of economists. We all need to grapple with the first principles of ethics, economics, and government. Virtually overnight globalization is a reality and belief systems are butting against one another, often shredding civility and undermining any inherent ethics and morality.

Each of us needs to engage in the historic debate about economic models. What works? What is good for people? Is this singular focus on "Return to Shareholders" a truncation of capitalism? Do we need to be looking at a more balanced model that includes more than the growth of the bottom line?

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Ziba Design, Inc.

Sohrab Vossoughi, Founder, CEO

334 NW 11th Street
Portland, OR 97209

Visit our web site:

Office: 503.223.9606

Business Classification:
Design, Invention,

Year Founded: 1991

Be The Adult In The Room

HATTIE: But is capitalism good for the soul?

MICHAEL: Well, it's not the whole answer for what the soul needs. Man does not live by bread alone to quote a line, but it is good for the soul compared to the alternatives. When you introduce a capitalist economic order into a traditional order or into a socialist order, it stretches people.

It demands more of them. It took a long time to learn what markets do and how well they do it and to begin to get a philosophy, a theory of trusting markets.

Markets don't do everything. You don't want to buy and sell the truth. You don't want to buy and sell integrity. You don't want to buy and sell moral habits. You don't want to buy and sell your own body or anybody else's body, and so on. So, I don't want to suggest markets are good for everything. But in certain limits, markets are a terrific device for social intelligence. The most intelligent way to organize a society fairly that there is. And have their faults, but it took time to learn that on balance they're a lot fairer, a lot more inventive and intelligent than other models.

And so with private property. People regularly think it'd be better if we owned everything in common. The problem always arises who will stay up at night with the sick cow. One woman told me that was the problem of communism, the collective. Who would stay up at night -- if it's your cow you will. If it's your only cow. But, if it's the collective, you know the other fellow will, Boris will, or Yvonne will. And then, nobody will.

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