Monday, December 27, 2010


Thoughts on Capitalism 2.0

In my dad's generation, capitalism was viewed as a good thing. Corporations created local jobs and acknowledged their fiduciary duty to take care of the community in which they reside. Fast forward to 2010, why is capitalism now a bad word?

My wife and I frequently shop at a Halal meat shop in Windsor as I love the Midimar breakfast meats. Anyway, no matter where I travel, the meat is always the same price. In the religion of Islam, food vendors are prohibited from price gouging and/or charging inflated rates. There is community agreement on what is fair and reasonable in terms of markup and everyone abides by the same rules.

In Islam, they have acknowledged that the basic necessities of food and clothing need to be affordable to all and not just a select few. A person starting a business can be guaranteed of making a reasonable profit and customers can expect to always pay a reasonable price. In this form of capitalism, society as a whole benefits.

What would happen if corporate boards of directors weren't solely focused on profit margins but also how the company gave back to the community? Establishing goodwill does more to create brand than spending millions of dollars. Does your current employer have an employee dedicated to dolling out company charity? Should it?

Consider for a moment the differences between say Starbucks and Accenture. Both have green initiatives but one views it as a goal that can be tampered with at any time while the other views it as an unmovable commitment. Is there anything less green than using hundreds of thousands of gallons of jetplane fuel to fly its consultants all over the globe on a weekly basis?

Accenture has more influence than it thinks and could easily convince its customers to consider telecommuting but it chooses not to push/encourage the issue. Instead, it has a savage mindset that its consultants should only care about the well being of the client and everything else is secondary. Is this is what capitalism is all about?

I remember in college that the definition of capitalism was to make society better. This isn't about profits alone but about better products, lifestyle and innovation. I am a Republican yet I voted for Obama. I believe he is attempting to not bring socialism to America but to return the notion of humanity as an ingredient to capitalism back.

If we continue to make decisions without the human element, society as a whole will suffer. We need new ideas in order to make us better and the infectious corporate greed mindset can only take us so far...

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