Midas, Cassandra & the Buddha: Curing Delusional Growth Myopia by Focusing on Thriving

49 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2014

See all articles by Adam J. Sulkowski

Adam J. Sulkowski

Babson College

Sandra Waddock

Boston College - Carroll School of Management

Date Written: November 1, 2013


This article discusses the problems of current measures of business and economic success and suggests an alternative approach. The mythological memes of Midas, Cassandra, and the Buddha are offered as a means to frame mindsets and to articulate a necessary shift in focus and reprioritization of key performance indicators.

Indicators of well-being and technologies for eliminating negative environmental impacts exist. The key problem is that humanity – at every level – has its attention focused on delusional measures of success. A refocus onto measures of ecological and human thriving is an essential step – a sine qua non – for adjusting civilization, including business activity, such that it can survive into the 22nd Century and beyond.

A key challenge is that financial growth metrics are deeply embedded in current systems and in the mindsets of people at all levels of current hierarchies. The goal of shifting mindsets and measures of success requires the engagement of many sectors of society, beginning with educational institutions and including managers in the private and public sectors. At the individual, firm, and societal levels, indicators of ecological health and human thriving must be elevated and treated as key measures of success. The stakes of current ecological and societal problems involve the lives and well-being of billions of people.

The memes and metaphors discussed here provide a novel way to frame and discuss issues and solutions whose implementation are overdue and desperately needed at the individual, organizational, and collective levels.

Keywords: metrics, key performance indicators, thriving, GDP, indicators, sustainability

JEL Classification: A00, E00, H00, E6, E61, M1, M10, M14, M2, M21

Suggested Citation

Sulkowski, Adam J. and Waddock, Sandra, Midas, Cassandra & the Buddha: Curing Delusional Growth Myopia by Focusing on Thriving (November 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542119 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2542119

Adam J. Sulkowski (Contact Author)

Babson College ( email )

231 Forest St.
Babson Park, MA 02457-0310
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.babson.edu/Academics/faculty/profiles/Pages/sulkowski-adam.aspx

Sandra Waddock

Boston College - Carroll School of Management ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

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