The philosophy of business as it has survived up through the years from the times of the British East India Company is due for a radical change.

We all know business as a tough, make it or break it, affair where the most ruthless win and a good manager is one who can outwit the opponent, the competition and leave them by the wayside on his triumphal march to corporate power and excellence. However a quiet revolution is underfoot and it is gnawing on the old concept, busy as a family of beavers felling trees to build their house. What is the change we are looking at? It is precisely what the title already implies - a shift towards a more ethical conduct of business. A conduct that doesn't kill the competition in search of supremacy, a conduct that is immune to the allure of abandoning a whole population to drugs and almost certain death in order to make a mint.

When we say ethics in business, we don't mean just paying your taxes or not cheating your customer - although that is certainly a part of it. The more important question is, how does this particular business contribute to the survival of our country? And how does it affect the survival of mankind as a whole? In other words: "How does my business benefit others?"

These are important questions to ask and although you will not catch either the managers or the financial interests behind today's mega-corporations pondering these questions, they are being increasingly taken into account by the owners of small businesses, the entrepreneurs. And rightly so. Because money alone and even corporate success do not form a basis for a happy life. Contribution does, especially contribution to the well-being of a large number of people.

What constitutes a large number of people? That is not really an important point, but the more people will gain some real advantage - not a fake one - from your business, the better you are doing in terms of ethics.

On the other hand, impeding the survival and well-being of a large number of people makes for sickness, personal unhappiness and misery. And boy do we see some misery among the apparently "successful".

And do we see some happiness and contentment among those who run an ethical business!

Josef Hasslberger
Rome, Italy