Laszlo Zsolnai, & Antonio Tencati ‘Beyond Competitiveness.’ , in The Collaborative Enterprise: Creating Values for a Sustainable World, eds. Antonio Tencati, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang Academic Publisher, Oxford, 2010.
The paper argues that economics is rightly called a “dismal science.” It propagates a negativistic view of human nature. In this view economic agents are always self-interested and want to maximize their own profit or utility. Their interactions are based on competition only and their criterion of success is growth measured in money terms. Mainstream economics generates vicious circles in which market players expect the worst from others and act accordingly. Competitive economics produces an enormous abundance of goods and services but at an intolerable environmental and social cost. If we want to get closer to a sustainable world we need to generate virtuous circles in economic life where good dispositions, good behavior and good expectations reinforce each other. Our collaborative enterprise project promotes a view in which economic agents care about others and themselves and aim to create values for all the participants in their business ecosystems. Their criterion of success is mutually satisfying relationships with the stakeholders.