Sklover’s Monday Thought: “Economic Systems; Individual Values”

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Under Capitalism, man exploits man. Under Communism, it’s just the opposite.”

– John Kenneth Galbraith

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Mr. Galbraith, a widely respected, capitalist economist, was famous for his keen insights into human behaviors. This quote may have been his keenest of all. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the economic systems we devise that most determine the way we are treated and how we treat each other, but rather the individuals we work with and the values they live by. It’s not systems but individuals who are fair or unfair, righteous or evil, kind or unkind, wise or unwise.

It’s the same with employers and managers, and the ways they treat their employees. An employer may lay off 10,000 employees and, too, set the policies that guide those layoffs, but it is the individual managers who are fair or unfair, and honest or dishonest, in carrying out those layoffs. Individual managers select those who stay, and those who do not, among those who work hard and those who do not, those who play politics and those who do not, and those who are in the right “tribe” and those who are not.

Next time you have a new job opportunity, consider above all the quality of the managers with whom and for whom you will work. Employees do not leave companies, they leave managers. It’s not the size of the table, or even the food on the table, but the individuals sitting around the table, who will best define the true quality of the feast.

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This quote was sent our way by Kwame A., of London, U.K., who shares that this has been his own keenest insight reached in 20+ years in his industry. On behalf of all of our readers, Kwame, our thanks go out to you. If you would like to contribute a saying, proverb or quote, we’d love to receive it and share it with our worldwide Blog Family. To do so, just send it to “The Boss,” also known as

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