Summer Thoughts on “The Good Soul of International Business and Trade”

This July I will present my summer thoughts in a seminar at the Kent Business School in Canterbury. When addressing issues of the soul, the focus is far beyond the flavor of the month. Rather I intend to convey a perspective of inner emotional content, typically a positive outlook. We can learn from the performance of body and soul, by understanding what was done before us and by appreciating the changes, which do and will occur. This summer I think about the good soul and its link to core issues of international business and trade. This covers an array of themes, ranging from business strategies to terrorism. I intend to provide the opportunity to climb some pillars, offering a perspective far beyond one’s accustomed circles. I reflect on how international business reaches every corner of our world today and affects the souls of individuals, firms, and societies.

In our global community, we often miss out on commonality. Independent thought should reflect the presence and absence of a good soul. This is remindful of the Bavarian Beer and Brez’n experience where visitors fearlessly occupy any free seat around the table and accept the existence of joint intentions. The need for and acceptance of the soul gives us a common path and provides a joint perspective underpinned by a broadly supported objective.

Touching on the natural ebb and flows in life, I address the soul and innovation, which often inspire new business policies. Old parameters acquire new meaning. For example, recessions are not necessarily a signal of decline on the world stage, but rather an opportunity to move into new directions with new determination, and the exercise of new rules. Or, if we demand that government provides the greatest protection possible, then we have to be willing to give up a certain amount of privacy.

The acknowledgment of soul helps to delineate limitations for individuals, policy, and business. Just as a river connects, touches but also separates its two riverbanks, the soul performs a major catalytic role. Lack of it can be a tragic loss. Its presence can lead to stronger public mores and scrutiny of injustice. One outcome can be a reduction of corruption and fewer unsavory practices among international companies and governments.

Think of the human condition as a sphere where one slice is business, affecting and being affected by other dimensions, be they medicine, religion or thermodynamics. The overarching umbrella is the desire for shelter provided by the soul, which offers simplicity and helps with judgment. The soul offers an understanding of truth and enables good decision-making in light of changing realities. For example, when losing, negotiators tend to blame it on the corruption and nepotism of the winners. Yet, culturally, the closeness to family and desire to help one’s own environment most can be seen as an obligation rather than a deviation. There is a need to scrutinize rules, which are axioms yet need a sounding board to reconsider their vitality. Even aspirin may eventuate shortcomings!

Nowadays, one discusses and sometimes even re-evaluates the meaning and adjustment of key traditional business pillars such as risk, competition, profit, and ownership. Many of today’s business executives gradually discover that their activities are but one component of society. The soul and its emotional subcomponents such as politics, security, and religion are only some of the dimensions that society may hold in higher esteem than economics and business. Those who act and argue based on business principles alone may find themselves increasingly ignored.

Thinking of the soul makes complexity more accessible by outlining some of the far-reaching consequences of international conflict and reconciliation. Trade and even tariffs can be a tool to deal with crises. Refugee flows, spy wars, and even macro negotiations for denuclearization, all affect and should be affected by the soul. Summer thinking will elaborate on how the international good soul plays an essential role in strengthening freedom, quality of life, and progress.

In the fall of this year, I will present my seminar work and thinking on the soul of business in book form. Pre-order now to be assured of an autographed copy. $45 – will get you into the loop. Or you can be an in-depth participant enrolling in my Canterbury seminar. ‘Til then, you can write to:

Prof. Dr. Michael Czinkota (
402 Hariri Hall
McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C. 20057

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