Holistic Business Capital by Dr. Basil Springer

“We are each of us individual cells in the great Mind of the Universe – God.  We can draw upon the Mind of the Universe in much the same way that any cell in our body draws upon our brain for whatever it needs outside its immediate surroundings” -  Riches within our Reach:  The Law of Higher Potential – Robert Collier
One of the major challenges facing the business community in the Caribbean as we continue our trek into the new millennium is going to be the enhancing of business growth in a rapidly changing environment.  The degree to which we are successful in addressing this challenge will determine whether we have negative growth, zero growth or positive growth within our businesses.  
It, therefore, behooves the management of each business to design such strategies that are expected to give rise to positive growth rates.  The more successful we are in doing this, the more likely we are to sustain a positive growth rate in the economy. The collective impact of positive growth rates of individual business will determine the rate of growth of our economies.  This will then lead to sustainable economic development and will have a positive impact on poverty reduction and socio-economic wellbeing.   
The resources which can be mobilised to get our businesses started so that they can evolve to their potential rate of growth may be termed ‘capital’.  Classical economics < >  distinguishes between three factors of production which are used in the production of goods
(1) Land < (economics)>  - naturally occurring goods such as soil and minerals;
(2) Labour < (economics)>  - human effort used in production;
(3) Capital < (economics)>  - goods which are used in the production of other goods, such as machinery, tools and buildings. In more modern analysis, the science of business has now, however, evolved to the point where holistic capital can be more cleverly defined.  My template for a discussion on holistic capital includes: human, intellectual, physical, natural, financial, cultural, social and spiritual capital.  

As we embark on a new year, each and every one of us should take an inventory of the capital available to us in the developing of our businesses and ensure that all parts are well-lubricated and working well.  If any specific component is missing then we are well advised to rectify the situation since ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’. Human capital is our most important asset and should be developed to the fullest. It is, therefore, incumbent on the public and private sectors to work together to ensure that opportunities exist for us all to move rapidly towards our potential.   Intellectual capital , which is to be found in the form of intellectual property or knowledge, has to be managed in an effective way to take advantage of the opportunities created by the information technology and telecommunications revolutions which we are privileged to  experience. Physical capital , in the form of equipment and machines, helps us to improve our productivity and enhance our competitiveness.  In emerging nations, such as the Caribbean, physical capital is usually imported because of our small economies.   Natural capital consists of land, mining, marine, energy and water resources but these have not been fully exploited. The management of our Financial capital leaves something to be desired because we have not mastered the art of matching financial instruments to meet the needs of our development. (As Hernando de Soto, the author of The Mystery of Capital has said, ‘Capitalism has lost its way in developing countries.’)

As we traverse the globe, one recognises the diversity of   Cultural capital that exists as we move from one region to another. If we were to evolve towards cultural partnerships, the synergy of interaction could probably make a lasting impact on our economies.   Social capital is the newest form of capital that is being developed, and according to Robert Pullman, refers to features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit. The Latin American community is also beginning to awaken to the massive latent potential of social capital. International experience suggests that nations with more social capital enjoy stronger economies and greater democratic maturity. This fact is evidence of the imperative necessity to create conditions that foster the basic components of social capital, such as a cooperative community, interpersonal trust and a broad social conscience.

The final type of capital is Spiritual capital which is, probably because of our treatment of spiritual matters, not immediately recognised as an important component of business capital but, of course, it is the greatest of them all. The general definition of Spiritual capital is the capacity for love.  Relative to the economic aspect of human life the definition of spiritual capital is of more restricted nature: spiritual capital is an illumination unto man about the possibilities and trends of such modification of the human environment that will allow us to make the economic activity of man more productive, and his life – more decent.  To effect this let us then continually draw on the Mind of the Universe.

( Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET) - )