Equality is a hot topic at the moment. among the world, politically and also market-specific. In business terms, it is often a struggle between customer and supplier or, for example, employee and employer.
It can be complex, equality. A transactional relationship is a clear example; you do something and in return you get something in return. That transaction is, if all goes well, in balance and therefore equivalent to each other, right?
Hierarchy is inevitable because, after all, someone has to make a decision. The translation of hierarchy from the Greek is “holy government.” In principle it is functional; it promotes efficiency and productivity, and decision-making (dominance/power) is fundamental in this. However, that balance of power also easily brings equality into question; in case of misuse. It would therefore be an art not to have that power corrupted and thus to keep a transaction equivalent.
About that dominant position. We see inhumane and unethical behavior in all industries, unfortunately. We make clothing in collapsing buildings and after a construction accident cement is poured over the deceased because otherwise the deadline for a World Cup is not met.
A more inclusive society
The UN found this behavior which crossed all border and time for action. The SDGs have been created; “The sustainable development goals”. They are 17 ideals with the aim of achieving a more inclusive society by 2030.
Seems pretty big, how can we apply it in our jobs and daily life?
We can take responsibility on a smaller scale by choosing one of these goals and paying attention to them. For example number 4: Quality education: Is the price you pay high enough for the selling party to still invest in education of their employees, does that party invest in their staff to begin with or does it disappear into only their own pockets? Ask the local shop owner, ask their employees, ask the company you’re buying from and decide if you want to take part in that through buying the product.
Social and Economic Council
When the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) asked me, amongst others, to provide input to their advice to Minister Kaag on how the government can take position in this, I said: “Look at the largest positions in chains, their behavior and how they are related to each other or maintain each other. Offer commercial protection to the intermediaries in the chains to prevent a situation in which the improvement will be paid by everyone except the ones who are doing wrong. The problem lays in exploitation for the purpose of self-enrichment, not in the purchase or sale price. “