Take your grubby hands off our companies!

At the start of the current economic crisis, a chorus of voices clamoured for an end to capitalism, as we know it, for the fall of the financial system, for a return to basics, and for new models of economic development, amongst others. It seemed, at last, that ideology, social cohesion and a commitment to creating more competitive and humanised organisations were all going to take centre stage in the debate.

Taking stock of what has transpired since then, what we see, however, is that all the hubbub of the day just got washed away in a sea of economic measures and proclamations, which pointed precisely in the opposite direction. Today, a number of nameless and faceless persons are pulling the strings of the economy, and consequently, those of people's lives. These anonymous individuals hide behind the same multilateral institutions that encouraged fast growth, and growth for growth's sake, praising those government policies, which today are being berated.

I believe we must recover the essence of politics and the community component of the economy. Although the Basque economy is substantially better off than other European nations at this time, it remains, nevertheless, insufficiently so. We, therefore, need to renew and strengthen our pledge to a mixed public-private economy, and to consolidating our system of science and technology. In addition, what we must do, is ensure the continued development of the manufacturing sector to create value-added products. Moreover, we also need to commit to the internationalisation of our companies, to business models that place people first, and to implementing the Basque Economic Agreement and fiscal policy as an instrument of promoting competitiveness.

The ultimate goal of a company is the creation of wealth for society around it. Additional goals include delivering quality products and services, behaving ethically and responsibly, and developing the company project. Finally, but not least, is the goal of consolidating employment and improving quality of life for people, along with a profound respect for the environment and for the development of our Region. May we always be mindful of these goals and support the company processes that operate on these basic principles of CSR.

I am convinced that another world is possible. The essence of our society advocates the inseparable relation between wealth creation and social cohesion. This indivisible bond implies democratising companies, developing a close interrelationship between all the socio-economic players involved, and committing to a new model of public administration. Furthermore, in order to truly cement the bond, open social dialogue and intergenerational commitment must be developed, whilst looking to the society of tomorrow.

To paraphrase Manuel Vicent, who wrote in his famous article published during the Spanish transition to Democracy in the late 1970's, "Dear technocrats: Take your grubby hands off our economy and companies."

*Article published in El Economista 18/06/2012


Sabin Azua

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