A Compassionate Look at Doing Business

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an article about the Dalai Lama’s comments during a panel discussion at the recent Seeds of Compassion conference. The audience was a group of business and policy leaders. The article takes a compassionate look at doing business. One interesting quote when asked about competition in business:

“If your colleague (is a) little bit lazy, or something like that, you try to be more competitive. So that is the positive side,” he said. “Negative side — to be causing one trouble.”

I find this interesting because what he is saying parallels the theory of capitalism in which competition is healthy as it creates better products and services. But, he is also addressing the reality of capitalism where individual businesses may see competition as something to be crushed. If you take the world view that we are all interconnected (whether this is through religious or secular belief) then harm caused to another causes suffering for all:

“If you do good, you get positive result. Something that creates harm is bad because we do not want to create suffering.”

Apparently there is quantitative research that shows that compassionate companies tend to outperform the market. I’m not sure, exactly, how compassion is measured or how statistically accurate this research is. However, I’m inclined to believe in the concept.