Prosperity, the newest documentary from Well.org and Pedram Shojai does not spend its time making mad claims about the state of the world. It is a realistic look at the facts of the way things are, but with the hopeful optimism to adapt and endure that represents the best in humanity. What Prosperity film, really does is to present a bold idea to the masses who need to hear it. That idea, is conscious capitalism, the audience who needs to hear it are Millennials. The result, should the message not fall on deaf ears, will be a world changing shift.
While the doc begins with Shojai discussing a desire to redefine ‘prosperity’ away from being solely value based, the Prosperity film really is about conscious capitalism. Addressing each of those points a bit more, and you will see the clear connection. Shojai opens with the concept that prosperity as being wealthy is the traditional, classic sense of the word. And to that extent he is absolutely right. Ask a hundred people and ninety will say that to be prosperous means to be rich or materially wealthy. Shojai suggests that the understanding should be opened up further, to incorporate our personal values and ideals. That to feel prosperous should not just mean looking at the bank account and feeling accomplished, but to consider our values, or personal purposes and passions. If one man has less money than his neighbor, but the first man is meeting his own values, is he no less prosperous?
With the wider view of prosperity suggested, Shojai then goes into the search for understanding and success in conscious capitalism. Conscious capitalism, you see, is essentially that more open notion of individual prosperity really taken to a much larger scale. It means for businesses and economics systems to be based around not just monetary profit, but also the profit of peoples, both employees and consumers, as well as the environment.
Shojai spends the rest of the documentary interviewing various businessmen and women, founders of businesses huge and small all who are taking their values to the office (or neighborhood plot) with them. People like the founder of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey who literally wrote the book on conscious capitalism with his work Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (2012). Mackey speaks to how their business was formed and the values that were the backbone to all of their decisions. This represents the idea of a socially conscious business.
Mackey and Whole Foods are far from the only business working with a conscious capitalist edge. Folks like Eugene Cooke, who formed an urban farm revolution in Grow Where You Are and brought healthy, sustainable, and responsible food to inner cities. Another, Studio Movie Grill whose outreach efforts are so important they occupy one of the six tabs on their website. Studio Movie Grill doesn’t have the needs for materials that would require specifically sourcing fair trade lumber for instance, but their back their communities and their employees’ efforts within them.
The point of all this is to say that the Prosperity film really does not suggest or claim anything outrageous or unattainable. By espousing the thought of conscious capitalism and showing how it is already in effect in various industries and communities, Pedram Shojai make it clear that this is already working on several levels. It is up to the audience to take part.
Back to that audience. The reason Shojai and Prosperity are preaching so fervently to the Millennial crowd is because soon they will be in control of the wealth of the world. Economists see that the upcoming transfer of wealth from Baby Boomers to Millennials will be the largest transfer of wealth in human history. Trillions of dollars will change hands and new people will take over the market. What’s important is to prime that audience with the knowledge to make choices that could really affect chance. Millennials are already a conscious bunch but if they were to understand the power their dollars could wield then who knows what is possible?
By supporting conscious brands, consumers make those business more profitable. In the pursuit of those profits, other business will then have to fall in line to meet the new social and environmental requirements that the market have expectations for. While these businesses shouldn’t be rewarded for simply following the dollar it is important for the environmentally and socially conscious to become the norm, not the exception.
That is what the Prosperity film is really, an education in the possibilities of smart (and conscious) use of the markets, should the audience be willing to do their parts.