IHMA Manifesto – Profit is put in service to the common good

Published by the International Humanistic Management Association (IHMA)

The International Humanistic Management Association (IHMA) seeks to drive change in the world’s business institutions, reorienting their purpose to support individual dignity and wellbeing, achieved through service to the common good.

To quote Humanist Manifesto II (written in 1973), “Humane societies should evaluate economic systems not by rhetoric or ideology, but by whether or not they increase economic well-being for all individuals and groups, minimize poverty and hardship, increase the sum of human satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life.” 

Businesses must balance profits WITH human welfare. One doesn’t come at the expense of the other, rather, they are intimately connected with each other as well as to global environmental health. Instead of judging “good” solely based on profits, “good” should be judged by how businesses impact society.

IHMA supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strives for a system that helps increase economic, social and emotional wellbeing, minimizes poverty and privation, and protects dignity. Success is measured by contributions to the enhancement of life opportunities and flourishing for all. 

We recognize:

We are all in this together. Individual freedom is important, but so is community. Individuals can only succeed if the community they are embedded in supports them. Society’s goal should be to create thriving communities that take care of everyone and not just a subset.  

Income inequality is bad for society. Inequality undermines trust and community and is correlated with higher rates of societal violence. It weakens the will of the many to organize to defend common interests against the specialized interests of the few. Inequality corrodes social bonds, erodes friendship, diminishes civic participation, and attenuates trust in community institutions.

It’s Demand and Supply – not Supply and Demand. Business owners don’t drive the economy. Capitalists are capitalists because they are trying to capitalize on people’s needs/demands. Capitalism only works to create and distribute the goods required by society when people have the funds to participate in the economy. If enough people are so impoverished that they can’t consume anything, then the system collapses. 

Wealth hoarding is toxic to market economies and therefore toxic to human flourishing as it prevents capital from circulating and benefitting society. 

Take care of individuals and the economy thrives. Harm and suppress individuals and economies shrink and collapse. Protection of Human Rights is a requirement for a thriving economy. 

Taxation helps create civilization.  Money is required to build the infrastructure that allows trade to occur.  We need government to use it’s taxation and  purchasing power to invest in our communities and to protect people from harm. 

Things that need to change to put profit into service of the common good

        • Minimum wages  Not only should there be a minimum wage – the wage should be set high enough to allow individuals making the minimum to participate in the economy. 
          • Set minimum wage to automatically adjust for inflation
          • One minimum wage (no exceptions for service workers or disabled)
          • Executive Compensation should be capped to no more than 50 times the average wage within an organization (50/1). Ideally it should be capped at 25/1. 
        • Social Investment: Government should be investing in public infrastructure, education, public transportation and more to create flourishing communities. 
          • Free public education through college
          • Free public transportation
          • Free public parks and recreation opportunities
          • Free public roads
        • Taxation rates should be progressive and not regressive to ensure that funds necessary for social investment are collected and to prevent wealth hoarding
          • Progressive tax rates
          • Equalize tax rates for unearned income (rents) vs. earned income so that rent seeking is not privileged in the tax code. 
          • Increase tax on excess income for both corporations and individuals. This will encourage capital investment instead of wealth extraction. 
        • Corporations for the Public Good should be legal and encouraged so that companies can focus – not just on shareholder value – but also on the value they bring to society. 
        • A better regulated financial system is necessary to ensure financial crimes are not committed that harm the public . 
        • Workers’ rights should be strengthened to help ensure labor is not exploited by their employers. 


      • Environmental Protection is critical to ensure the commons are not destroyed.
        • Environmental protection enforcement  should be strengthened and prioritized
        • Sustainable Development Goals should be implemented
        • Renewable Energy Investment
        • Public Transportation can help reduce pollution
      • Healthcare is a public good and necessary to maintain societal wellbeing. It is clear, post Covid19), that health care should not be tied to employment so that everyone, regardless of employment status, can access health care
        • Public funding of health care
        • Public insurance options in addition to private insurance options
        • A return to public owned hospitals in addition to private hospitals