Jiva Technology

Responsible capitalism

One of the most over used, cliched, phrases you’ll hear in business is, “to leave things in a better shape than when you found them”. Even arms manufacturers usually help themselves sleep at night by talking about being members of the defence industry rather than the destruction industry. A quick stroll through the mission statements of world capitalism will see multiple references to making the world a better place and delighting customers; exploitation is a word that rarely appears and even then, its usually preceded by the word reduce or eliminate. But one of the hardest things for any group of people to do is to look in the mirror and accept things for how they are and not how we would like them to be. The reality is that the trajectory of business over the last 40 years, since the greed is good days of the 1980s, has been almost universally towards lower ethical standards and exploitation in the name of competition. Even the phrase responsible capitalism struggles to get a look in. We’ve moved from co-operative financial institutions to mega-banks, we’ve moved from local football clubs to entertainment brands, we’ve moved from neighbourhood shops to online megastores . Ruthless, winner takes all competition may have made us financially richer, but it has made us culturally poorer. It’s turned the jobs market into a game of winners and losers and the education system that precedes it is going exactly the same way. As business people we have to admit it: far from leaving the world in a better place, we’ve made it far, far worse and it’s time we did something about it. Business is an important part of the social fabric of our societies, not something “on the side”. History’s verdict will be damning if individuals continue to stand on the sidelines and don’t pick up a weapon and join the fight. Business has become an exploiter of natural resources and human resources in the name of generating greater financial resources. That cannot continue; the time to turn away from irresponsible capitalism and turn back towards responsible capitalism is upon us.


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