Dignity, where art thou?

Our goal-oriented society is full of political platforms, strategic plans, long-range plans, position papers, white papers, proposals, action memos, and self-study reports.

How many of them feature human dignity as a framing theme and objective?

Oh sure, we talk plenty about growth, outcomes, opportunities, profits, “measurables,” and the like.

But as for “dignity”? Well, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

In the workplace, a “markets and management” framework that embraces unregulated industries and unfettered management control continues to hold sway. It spills into our political realm, where trickle-down economic theories and practices dominate our domestic and international policy debates. It has been this way for at least the past 30 years.

I don’t know why we’re so afraid to embrace the concept and practice of dignity. Does it make us uncomfortable? Do we see it as an impossibility? Is it too threatening to the centers of profit and power?


Related posts

Donna Hicks on dignity (2012)

Building a global society that embraces human dignity (2011)

George Lakoff, Frameworks, and Dignity at Work (2010)

Human Dignity and American Employment Law (2009)

Websites of the Week: Dignity, Humiliation, and Rankism (2008)

5 responses

  1. I’d like to recommend a book: “Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict” by Donna Hicks, Ph.D. (2011). To quote Dr. Hicks: “Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.”


  2. Dignity? What a refreshing concept.

    David, have you seen the media’s recent vicious attacks on the entire Lyme disease community, all for the sake of discrediting Romney? I have not seen anything this brutal done to a patient population since the Reagan-HIV/AIDS days in the 80s. And it hurts to the core of my being (and also has awakened me that much further to what is really going on). ALL of the publications responsible for this egregious bullying are considered “liberal” publications/media outlets, from Slate to The New Yorker to Mother Jones to Rachel Maddow/MSNBC. Unconscionable. I am now truly embarrassed to be a registered Democrat (there is no true party affiliation for me in this country, sadly).

  3. In a book called “If You Get a Moment would You Please” i have a one page chapter entitiled Dignity. I suggest that you shoudl never take anyones dignity. If you want a full treatise on the general subject I suggest Huttons “The No asshole Rule” . Assholes get their jolies out of talking someone’s dignity. It costs too much to keep one of those around. Don’t wait in hopes that they will change.

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