Members of the Public

 

Demand is essential to a thriving Fourth Sector. If customers don’t support hybrid and For-Benefit enterprises, the entire subject will soon be moot.

Ideally, the public will give preferential treatment to Fourth Sector organizations. It is certainly in their interest to do so. A thriving Fourth Sector will benefit them in numerous ways. For one thing, the products and services created by Fourth Sector organizations will often offer better value than those from conventional businesses. This is because health and safety will tend to be a higher priority in the Fourth Sector enterprise.

A thriving Fourth Sector will also bring more integrity into the world. As it happens, the word “integrity” has a double meaning: it means “the quality of being honest and acting with high moral principles,” and it also means “whole and undivided.” A great many people these days feel they are inhabiting a world that is lacking in integrity in both senses of the term. Many of these people also feel internally divided, and the structure of our sectors only reinforces this. The for-profit sector is focused exclusively on maximizing ROI, and the non-profit sector is focused exclusively on doing good. This split encourages an “either/or” attitude that easily gets internalized: “Either I am greedy and have to deal with the guilt, or I serve and get the crumbs.” The Fourth Sector model integrates service with economic self-interest, and in the process heals this split. In so doing it can make people happier. It can create a more truly prosperous world.

Actions members of the public can take to support the emergence of a vital Fourth Sector include:

  • Favoring Fourth Sector enterprises with their buying behavior. Just as there are “green consumers,” there can also be “Fourth Sector consumers.”

  • Investing in Fourth Sector enterprises—-ideally, local Fourth Sector enterprises—-on a preferential basis.

  • Lobbying for Fourth Sector policies and initiatives.

  • Voting for lawmakers who want to create a robust Fourth Sector.

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