By Charles Handy
Published: September 19 2006 19:49 | Last updated: September 19 2006 19:49
Adam Smith famously argued that the pursuit of self-interest in a free market would benefit all in society. What is less well remembered is that he also said sympathy, by which he meant a concern for one’s fellows, was essential for the cohesion and stability of that society. Business eagerly embraced the self-interest part of the equation, leaving sympathy for others to deal with. In the long run that has undermined the spirit of capitalism, which many see as an invitation to selfishness on the part of companies and individuals. Altruism and capitalism seemed unlikely bedfellows."