Capitalism drives companies to increase profits: No issues there, but let’s tweak the rules to ensure more well-being
Last week TSSS and CSRwire launched a New Webinar Series, “Capitalism 2.0: A Deeper Dive”, designed to explore the future of Capitalism. Judging by the huge turnout, it would appear that people are hungry for a conversation about meaningful change towards a sustainable economy.
The webinar was a deeper exploration of ideas introduced at a live TSSS event that took place in Toronto on March 4, 2014: “The Future of Capitalism: New Metrics, New Models, New Outcomes” (click here for the event summary). Both the live event and the webinar showcased Mark Anielski, author of The Economics of Happiness and a leading expert on the emerging metric of well-being.
The goal of the webinar was to better understand:
* How GDP misses the mark on measuring success
* Why companies should embed well-being into their corporate strategy
* What metrics we could use to measure well-being
* What roles business, government, and society can play to move towards greater well-being
- Read the event summary of our March 4th live event
- Download our White Paper, A Journey in Search of Capitalism 2.0 and learn about the 9 design principles of a sustainable economy
- Reflect on the ideas in this article and share your comments below
How can we engage the spirit of capitalism so that a company’s ability to generate profits is directly tied to its ability to create well-being?
Some ideas to consider:
1) Eliminate government subsidies to companies that cause social and environmental harms such as:
- contributing to climate change
- advancing ecosystem degradation
- adding to environmental toxicity
- paying employees poverty wages
- contributing to wealth concentration rather than inclusive prosperity
- disrupting or eliminating the social fabric of communities
2) Ensure that companies that cause harm experience disincentives such as higher taxation, borrowing and insurance costs
3) Increase the costs or deny permits outright to companies that cause harm while those that create well-being would be fast tracked
4) Re-commit to existing environmental regulations with a dramatic increases in both external inspectors and fines for offenders
5) Establish clear metrics that allow consumers to understand how companies are performing on well-being so that people can drive change through their purchasing and investment decisions
Unleash Capitalism to work towards the goals of well-being
Companies that cause harm would find that their profits are limited and that their business is yielding a lower return, if any. The incentives embedded within the capitalist system would encourage new companies to emerge and seize opportunities that developed when companies lost their ability to cheaply or freely externalize harm. Investment dollars would naturally be re-directed towards less risky and more profitable investments, ensuring greater bottom line success for companies with a proven track record of creating well-being.
It’s not complicated…we just have a system that has embedded obstacles towards real change. We can overcome those obstacles but business can’t do it alone – we all have a role to play.