Russian Nesting Doll

On Sunday I was at a picnic where I heard Bill Grace, an inspirational speaker who founded the Center for Ethical Leadership in Seattle. He currently directs Common Good Works and speaks and leads seminars around the world.  He’s a wonderfully deep thinker and had us all mesmerized as we followed his stories. Many of us bought his book “Sharing the Rock; Shaping Our Future through Leadership for the Common Good”. One story resonated with me deeply. Bill talked about the economy; that when we think of the economy we think of money.  He suggests there is more than one economy and told us to visualize a set of Russian nesting dolls.  You know; the little doll inside a bigger doll and that one inside an even bigger doll.

Bill explained that the biggest doll represents the earth’s economy; that without the earth being in good shape it will not be able to support humanity and that we have let the earth down.  Then he talks about the middle doll, explaining that it stands for the human economy. Bill feels passionately that we need to be focusing on building our human capital all over the earth, providing every child with good schools, teachers, effective healthcare and enough food to eat.  The last and smallest doll is the financial economy.  Bill thinks we have blown that tiny doll up into a god, that it has taken over as if it is all there is. He says we have completely lost touch with the more important aspects of life and that we need people to understand how much we have lost touch with our innate essence.  He posits that a truly successful financial economy cannot exist without taking the earth and the humans on it into account; indeed putting them first.

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