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The Kindness Economy

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | Add A CommentBy admin | February 12, 2010

The new bestseller that you and I can write every day.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a short book based on the idea of The Kindness Economy. It started as a friendly joke with a few friends; we were comparing notes on how people seem to have slowly  become ruder and more self-centered with every passing day over the past couple decades. Our idea was that if you make a little investment in being kinder ever day – hold a door, let someone go  first, say excuse me – it would sort of make a deposit into the “Kindness Economy” that would help build up the “Kindess Supply”. This idea has helped me grow a little bit as a person, but it occurred to me after a while that maybe there was something to it. Over the past decade I’ve not only done a lot of work to try to improve myself as person, I’ve been learning a lot about how to and how not to run a business. One thing I noticed at some point was that there was a marked difference in the style of how business people of different ages seemed to approach running their business. At this point I’d put the marker around 55 years old and up, and it’s a simple difference: business people under that age right now are much more likely to be motivated more strictly by profit, and people over that age are much more likely to motivated by a deeper sense of value and community. I am of course speaking anecdotally and in broad strokes, but I’ve noticed that the “old school” model includes a lot more personal touches of “going the extra mile” by throwing in simple courtesies of service, and not treating customer care simply as a way of retaining disgruntled customers, but as a way of building new ones. It also includes the idea of building business that is of value not only to shareholders and investors, but also people like employees, customers, and the citizens of the community from which the business derives its revenue. I’m old enough myself to have watched the general sense of prosperity in America dwindle from a high point in the 60′s to the current sense of impending econopocalypse. Concurrent with this I’ve noticed this trend of people seeming less courteous as time passes, and I can’t help feeling that there’s some kind of connection. We could enter some broad sociological discourse at this point about how prosperity and courtesy in America were impacted by the Great Depression and the two World Wars, and how the generations of that era were forced into a sense of community and later thrived on the post war prosperity, but how about this time we skip the whole financial collapse and global conflict part, and just get back to being kinder for the sense of comfort and prosperity it brings all on its own?

The Kindness Economy and The Economy of Kindness
©2009 Ian Gray