Rebalancing society

”Enough of the imbalance that is destroying our democracies, our planet, and ourselves. Enough of the pendulum politics of left and right, as well as the paralysis in the political center. Enough of the visible claw of lobbying in place of the invisible hand of competing. Enough of the economic globalization that undermines sovereign states and local communities. Have we not had enough exploiting of the world’s resources, including ourselves as “human resources”?”, writes Henry Mintzberg in his pamphlet “Rebalancing Society” that was later published as a book by MacGraw-Hill.

Henry Mintzberg calls for a radical renewal of society beyond what he refers to as the left, the right and the centre. He sees the plural sector, i.e. the community, as the major driver of this renewal as the private sector and the governmental sector have done well proving their incapability to do so. I would recommend referring to this book when setting the scene for a more critical approach to teaching Organisational Behaviour. I believe that Henry Mintzberg offers an appropriate interpretation of the imbalance that we observe in many of the so-called Western societies where the private sector is given priority and thereby assigned the authority to determine how societies are supposed to function. Addressing the imbalance in society, Henry Mintzberg takes a critical stance towards, for example, resource exploitation, the neglect of the externalities caused by human activities, growth for the sake of growth, the power of big corporations (which apparently are not only “too big to fail” but also “too big for jail”), and relentless individualism with “every person and every institution striving to get the most for him-, her-, or itself, over the needs of society and a threatened planet” (p. 20). He also refers to social initiatives emanating from the plural sector as being the ones, who have the capacity to bring about change in society.

The following YouTube-clips may serve as a teaser for the book. The full manuscript is available online from: http://www.mintzberg.org/sites/default/files/rebalancing_society_pamphlet.pdf

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