One of the main assets for an honest, open, and successful act of giving is: not expecting. Once we expect, the act of giving becomes only an act of selfishness on business terms and with exchange rewards for which there is no merit or moral highness but just another way of receiving instant pleasure or benefit. If the sense of giving is key for building peaceful societies is even more in times of crises as COVID19. Solidarity and empathy for others’ pain cannot be seen as a matter of exchange or immediate reward but just to “act & forget” on an exercise of small acts that finally leads into a big wave of solidarity beyond borders.
Recently Burger King UK has done a gesture of goodwill by encouraging to order from competitors making business a fair game and not a war. Vindicating the capacity to gain without undermining others’ work. “Restaurants employing thousands of staff really need your support at the moment”. For the sake of improving the current poor conditions of the business sector and boost employment, they are building a new sense of doing business without prejudice and out of traditions. They are innovating and mark the difference for a new culture based on trust and confidence towards resilience. New parameters of competition that demand a sense of solidarity, empathy, and certainly without losing focus on profits and improving competitive standards.
Is indeed a competitive society that is demanding acts of kindness and generosity also for the chaotically political leadership, even coming from diverse ideologies or business competitors including individuals struggling to tackle COVID19 from different approaches and habits. Unfortunately when business competitors turn their action into aggression when political leaders turn into a never-end fight without delivering we face the cruel reality of a “blind path” towards the built of resilience at the personal or partisan level. In these cases there is no sense of “giving” but only “receiving”: profits, votes, power, etc. The absence of a correct synergy among actors tends to sink a society into stagnation making good policies ineffective if there is not an implementation that engages all: actors, institutions, and leaders from a social focus and not a political one. Is it not a loss on the nature of politics but gaining on profitability on an equal but diverse approach.
“Give and receive” is the magnificent artwork of Lorenzo Quinn sways when you move one part or the other. A perfect movement of coordination and good expectations, however, once submitted to public scrutiny it rather moves as a charity, not within a whole system based on social responsibility.
Maybe we may perceive it as CSR principles but on an extended version, for all areas of the society and not just business.
The creation of cohesion starts with a system built on structured solidarity, originally the work of politicians of what is supposed to be at the service of the public good, sadly diverted by different interests.
Many people resist the idea of looking at COVID19 as an opportunity rather than a devastating reality that we must get rid of as soon as possible. However, it would be a short-minded focus if we just see the negative impact instead of the beginning of a new way of living and a renewed sense of preserving nature and lives. The pass of time and wrong personal choices –consumption, traveling, food, etc.- has an exposed that we, as an individual, are not taking social responsibility, not even personal one and continue living without limits and measure of their impact. Climate change was one sign,of it and now with the pandemic, we are adding more elements that mark a new stage for the planet. A global pandemic that is claiming for global approaches by a radical change of personal habits and a reform of the system at the global level.
Is it a historical momentum for partnering with different people on innovative shapes, within a creative leadership coming from diverse focus and cultures to finally get into social resilience.
Is a new normal also from traditional solutions,
Time to rehearsal on what really means social responsibility instead of a failing model of a political-institutional authority, but the joint action of all actors, shaping a new paradigm. Accepting a new normal means also accepting new rules of the game and change at the systemic level.
Social responsibility: give & receive….
* “Solidarity beyond charity” Mar Introini https://thesustainabilityreader.com/2019/12/30/solidarity-beyond-charity/