On October 21st 2019, in celebration of the 1956 Hungarian revolution against the Soviet regime, and on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Hungarian freedom, the Hungarian Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the United States Szabo Laszlo received close friends of Hungary in the new “Reach” edifice at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Ilona Czinkota presented the Ambassador with a copy of the book A Man of Honor and Nation’s Pride, dedicated by the author, her cousin Professor Robert Haddad.
A good soul promotes quality of humility, empathy, and reflections for human developments at a time when society often perceives business as soulless. Today, concern over the lack of soul in business life creates a fine layer of transparent filigree which negatively shadows and biases public impressions. Eventual fossilization may turn out to be very costly since it influences society’s willingness to allocate, spend, play, and nudge.
People and society generally seek pursuits which advance wealth and good feelings. But nowadays, wealth seems to have won out. Concurrently, technology and artificial intelligence may contribute to further alienate business from the soul. The environment appears to weaken the overall qualities of a soul. Two fatal crashes involving Boeing 737 Max 8 planes have faltered public confidence in the aviation giant. Volkswagen’s teutonic attraction to honesty was deflected by its cheating on the emissions of diesel engines. Church child abuse scandal reveals a faith’s failure to govern human behavior. All these cases may lead to a separation of business and society, where business becomes a mere supply chain member without influence or respect.
The events are not just contemporaneous. More than a century ago, the Chinese Empress Dowager Tz’u-hsi, in order to renovate her summer palace, impounded government funds that had been designated for China’s shipping and its navy. Almost totally isolated from world trade, China missed out on knowledge transfer, the inflow of goods, global innovation and the productivity growth that derive from international trade.
Passage of time may lead to the forgiveness of misdeeds but such mercy does not exempt one from recognizing their responsibility. Curative marketing may well be the upcoming direction to restore the good soul by raising wonderment about the triple helix linkage of business, faith, and society.
Business must look back and accept responsibility for past errors. A more emotionally appealing approach, for example, should have been taken by the Boeing company in recognition of its responsibilities. Merchants should be reliable, trustworthy, and bridge-building partners. For now, American firms, when compared to their global competitors, should strive for a transparent, humble, and discerning leadership.
Since the 1990s, governments again has begun to play a growing role in business. New global regulations and restrictions have emerged because markets don’t always succeed with constraints and self-regulation.
Today, the traditional role and effectiveness of the World Trade Organization are challenged. Multilateral agreements appear to be at a standstill or even in retrenchment. At the same time, the Trump administration’s deregulation brings confidence to the domestic economy. A 2018 survey by the National Association of Manufacturers showed that more than 92 percent of respondents suggested a positive outlook for their firms. Nearly a half-million new manufacturing jobs were created in the past two years.
The new and crucial joint responsibility of humanity, business, and faith can and should be used to humanize behavior, expectations and cultivation. Religious connectivity with commerce has had an important role for ages. There is, for example, the ejection of the money changers from the synagogue by Jesus and the creation of the honorable merchant, developed by the German Hanse Trading Group in the 13th century.
Curative marketing helps overcome past shortcomings and leads to a healthier economy. China, for example, tries to heal past wounds in areas such as food safety, environmental protection, and medical security.
In the preface of my book “In Search for the Soul of International Business”, Dr. Szabo, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States, states that “one of my goals is to strengthen business ties between Hungary and the United States. I would like to see businesses flourish that have multidimensional levels of depth and a natural concern for a good soul so that these connections can be meaningful, long-lasting, and honorable. ”
Good souls should not only point business to an exchange of human development for profit. Curative marketing should be the next step to help create an environment of global responsibility and growth.
Professor Czinkota (email@example.com) teaches international marketing and trade at Georgetown University and the University of Kent in Canterbury.