Some time ago, it has been claimed the end of the left-right politics rhetoric. And till some extent, you can understand that position. Clear: once you see the Iranian or Cuban leaders talking about their own revolutions in Adidas sportswear, or (even more extreme), the former self-proclaimed left-wing Argentinean president wearing Louis Vuitton bags, you can’t but give those ideas some credit.

120204085039-fidel-memoirs-story-topI still think, though, they are wrong!

Maybe the left-right wings as we knew them are obsolete today, however, the philosophical question on how one or the other sees, depicts, and understand, the world remains fully relevant.

Moreover, the societal and business-related implications of those views, as well as the role of the State under those two different paradigms of the “society we should build” are, currently, more obvious and interesting to analyse than probably ever before.

My intention is not to theoretically discuss the matter, rather, to pragmatically analyze its business consequences, especially when it comes to the way the State should assigned limited resources among the economic actors of the society.

A few weeks ago, as I was heading back from Argentina (oh yeah, that’s an example of constant left to right to left swings), I came across a very interesting article talking about the difference in views of the newly formed “right-wing” Argentinean government and its “left-wing” (in Louis-Vuitton bags leader) predecessor.

Basically, both set sails under the conceptual understanding that human being capabilities are different and, as such, different people will deliver different performances. Clear-cut.

From that point onwards, is when divergence in the models start. Left-wing rhetoric suggests that given that not all of us have the same opportunities in life (family, geographical, educational, cultural, among other conditions, determined it), the role of the state is to intervene assigning resources to level up the field by helping the worse-off of the economic development process. In such a way, state-controlled resources participate at the end, “fixing” the uneven results of the process.

In contrast, right wing thinking believes state interventionism, and the deployment of its resources, should take place at the very beginning, by warranting that everyone embarks in the race form the same starting point line. As such, the role of the State is to assign resources as to make sure there are equal opportunities for everyone. Later on, based on everyone’s effort level and choice (leisure vs. work), performance, capabilities, and circumstances, the process will determine the worse and better offs.

For those working in environments where performance is the most relevant metric to determine success or failure, the second model of understanding society and its economic development, largely applies. Basically, most of people working in the corporate world, mainly in publicly traded companies.

But performance is not always, the only metric under consideration. Or, better said, performance can be measured beyond its mere economic utility. Imagine the case of a NGO which interest is not necessarily to generate a larger amount of revenues on every single next quarter, rather to integrate worse-off people into society again. (Good example of it could be seeing at www.thestreetstore.org)

We could also think on a “regular” for-profit company, from the family-run sphere (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a mom-and-pop store. It can be a global family control brand, as many in Germany for example). Even tough the critical financial parameters will still play a very relevant role, in such company’s structure, strategy, and culture, there is usually an stronger feeling of attachment to the origins, to the place where the company is rooted, where the founding family usually still lives.

As an eclectic thinker, I do believe we cannot find an answer to these complex matters from a sole, unique perspective. I do believe we have to level up the playground, so that everyone gets a fair chance of success. We have to admit, anyways, that it will always be impossible to provide everyone with an equal chance. Very personal aspects play a role in determining who we are. I can make schooling available to everyone, but if you are not properly fed as a little one by your parents, your brain will be disadvantaged when you reach adult ages.

Nevertheless, I do think we must reward the ones going the extra mile in their efforts and, as such, achieving improved performances. That’s also a way to foster innovative thinking and to avoid abuses to the system (just like in school -not to mention companies-, when “free-riders” with very little contribution to the team-work get unfairly rewarded by the good overall team performance).

Finding the right balance, if there is one at all, it is definitely not an easy task. But, as always, we should start by clearly defining the kind of society we want to live in and, all the way down to business, the kind of organization we want to build.

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