50 jaar anders ondernemen
Distribution of income, assets and time.
The Topa Group and the Utopa Foundation.
This book is not so much about my 50-year history as an entrepreneur within the Topa Group, as about the choices I made during that time. In the first place it presents a philosophical and social vision of realized over fifty years.
I challenge the generally accepted capitalist model and the dogmas of the capitalist system. Questioning current views about the capitalist system, such as "the market" and "self-interest" enables a discussion to take place about the conventional interpretation of these concepts. We need to keep searching for improvements or better alternatives.
This is also true of the function of businesses and of entrepreneurship itself. There is also much to be said about the division of interests between stockholders and employees. Within a business, social responsibility for and loyalty towards the employees should play an important role; if you want your employees to trust you, you must begin by trusting them.
For decades the division of labor has been an unresolved problem: we have sought to attain full employment but have not achieved this aim. Are we free to choose between having to and wanting to work? This choice is determined by a number of factors, such as our assets, our income and the kind of jobs that are available.
In this book I place developments concerning income and assets over the last twenty or thirty years, and their social consequences, within the context of typical Dutch values and traditions. If we compare such developments in the Netherlands to those in America or England, for example, we should cherish our achievements.
My own path in entrepreneurship has been somewhat unconventional, as twenty-five years ago I put the capital of my companies into a foundation with a social purpose and relinquished the rights to my assets. The how and why of the Utopa Foundation is described in this book.
The book closes with a number of brief considerations about topical socio-political affairs that are certain to play an important role in determining our future.
My dream is to make this world a little better, a little more social, and I hope that this publication will act as an inspiration to others.