Frits Goldschmeding personally formulated the core values of the Randstad Group, ‘to know, to serve and to trust’ people, in the annual reports of the period 1978-1984. These basic principles determined his vision on people, work and economy, the three research domains to which the Goldschmeding Foundation for People, Work and Economy will contribute. Later Goldschmeding added that ideally people, their work and the economy would be driven by love. Love (caritas, agapè) is not only the basis of the core values, it is also intertwined with them.
To clarify how his vision on people, work and economy is determined by the above mentioned values, it is necessary to take into consideration the sources that the founder of the Goldschmeding Foundation has referred to during his search for who we are, what work entails and what a good economy would look like and how it could come to exist.
Goldschmeding owes many of his ideas about how a social enterprise should function to the Christian tradition in general and to the Professors H. Dooyeweerd and T.P. van der Kooy in particular. The leading thought in the teachings of Dooyeweerd is that there are many aspects to distinguish in an individual or a society. The economic aspect is among many others, merely one aspect of the reality of an individual or a society. Knowledge of the aspects doctrine as interpreted by Van der Kooy, kept him from, based on a limited reference framework, making the mistake of limiting himself to only one aspect of reality and seeing this aspect as unrelated to the other aspects which are inherent to being human. This insight confirmed his belief that ‘the economy’ should never be seen as a monolithic block.
The economic aspect is merely one aspect of the reality of an individual or society
The insight that a vison on the economy would be enriched by questions and input from other disciplines, imprinted on Goldschmeding the thought that in an enterprise, various aspects that are at the basis of both the individual and the enterprise should be recognised and acknowledged. If an enterprise simultaneously fulfils multiple interests of both directly and indirectly involved parties, it is not desirable that only economic aspects are taken into account. Other aspects such as the social, psychological and ethical aspects should be taken into account in simultaneous advocacy.
In simultaneous advocacy, ‘to know, to serve and to trust’ can be imperative as the elaboration of the ethical aspect of things. Golschmeding did not hesitate to bring to attention that love needs to play a role in this aspect. Augustinus’ vision of caritas taught him that this power allows people to strive for perfection, despite their imperfection. Therefore the main task of a company is to maintain the caritas, so that knowing, serving and trusting each other can be sincere and fruitful.