Why on earth is economics perceived to come in only one or at best two different a-cultural if not a-moral guises? There are real, and many, alternatives to the economic mainstream. The trouble is, of course, that they are hidden from us. In Integral Economics Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Schieffer pave the way for a sustainable approach to economics, building on the richness of diverse economic approaches from all over the globe. By introducing the most evolved economic perspectives and bringing them into creative dialogue they argue that neither individual enterprises nor wider society will be transformed for the better without a new economic perspective. Here, they introduce a comprehensive framework based on the same 'Four Worlds' model that is applied to enterprise and research in their earlier works. Given the richness of even mainstream economic theory reviewed in this book, let alone the variety of alternative approaches introduced, it is frustrating that policymakers and business practitioners are impoverished by a lack of apparent economic choice - between a seemingly failing capitalism and an already failed communism. The 'villains of the piece' in relation to this lack of choice are not so much the financial community and governments, though they do have much to answer, but the schools of economics and the business schools, that have created the very social ethos, the philosophical principles, and the mathematical models, that influence events. Integral Economics is partly addressed to academics and students in those very schools, who have either realized the error of their ways, or, less dramatically, are curious to explore whether our businesses and communities could be run in a different way. It will be welcomed by informed senior practitioners, eager to understand the current rethink of economic theory and practice and to discover how to position themselves, their organizations, and their society within a new framework.
Professor Ronnie Lessem is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the London School of Economics. He has been an adjunct professor at IMD, Lausanne and is now Director of the Trans-cultural Centre and programmes at the University of Buckingham, UK. Ronnie Lessem was the managing director of a clothing business in South Africa and he has acted as a consultant and adviser on organisational learning, knowledge creation and cross-cultural management to international companies such as the Anglian Water Group in the UK. He is currently working with Virgin Group companies. Professor Lessem has written over twenty books on subjects including organisational development, change and transformation. Dr. Alexander Schieffer studied economics, business administration, law and social sciences at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland. He also gained a Doctorate in Leadership at St Gallen. Dr Schieffer is a member of the Society for Organisational Learning and the World Business Academy. He has published a variety of articles and books in the last ten years. Both authors run doctoral programmes at Bethel University, USA , and Buckingham University, UK on Social and Economic Innovation, and are currently designing curricula for sustainable business and economics at Sekem's Heliopolis University in Egypt. They are co-founders of the Geneva-based TRANS4M Four World Center for Social Innovation. www.trans-4-m.com
'fascinating and inspiring overview of past and present alternative economic models.' - Jakob von Uexkull, Sweden, Founder of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) 'The extraordinary research Lessem and Schieffer have done is delivering the theory to one of the most important socio-economical truths. It is a lighthouse for people from all walks of life.' - Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Egypt, Chairman of SEKEM Group; Founder of Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development; Winner Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize 2003) 'After reading this book, its contention that economic systems must build on local strengths seems self-evident and logical; but this just goes to show the genius of its authors since before reading it, such a bold, just and sensible economic premise was beyond the realm of possibility. Do read it and be inspired!' - Hafsat Abiola, Nigeria, Human rights, civil rights and democracy activist, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) 'Integral Economics shows a way to revitalize the moral core of economics. It is for this very reason, that I recommend this book to everyone participating in the necessary task of renewing economics from the inside out, in theory and practice.' - H.E. Hala Bsaiso Lattouf, Jordan, Minister for Social Development, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 'While conventional economic theory and practice succeeded in keeping the majority of humankind in an impoverished and powerless state, a less recognized economic theory and practice which is an integral part of a living philosophy of the oppressed helped them to survive on this planet. Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Schieffer have to be commended for probing into and significantly evolving this unexplored field of Integral Economics, which is an area dreaded by most in their profession to enter.' - Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, Sri Lanka, Founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka (one of the world's most succe