Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Capitalism has to be saved from itself, for all....and baking integrity into the cake is only a token start

"We need to bake integrity into corporate DNA." (from "Don Tapscott: Transforming capitalism won’t happen without leadership" in Toronto Star, May 17, 2013, excerpted below)
Tapscott recommends trimming executive salaries, as a good place to begin. And while necessary, there are so many other ways in which capitalism needs to change. After the cake has already been through the oven of establishing itself through almost literally purchasing the legislative power of too many countries, there seems little likelihood that integrity can be put back into a cake that is already devouring itself, financially, environmentally and with respect to worker protections and respect.
Capitalism depends on a rampant and voracious apetite for profit/dividend, regardless of the means used to achieve that profit. It seeks the lowest costs of production, transportation and distribution in order to achieve the maximum profits from sales where the capacity to pay is the highest in the world.
It cares not a whit about the social, political and cultural infrastructure,  in its current form, in spite of the millions of philanthropic dollars that are being donated to museums, art collections and symphonies. Capitalism is, quite literally, purchasing the curriculum in too many universities, and shaping the graduates from too many professional schools, making it the productive agent of its own future.
Individuals, who have made buckets of money through the pursuit of capitalism, may have an interest in their own personal legacy, and thereby through the plaque bearing their family name that is screwed to the face of a new art museum, for which those individuals normally received a substantial tax write-off.
However, about the source or the protection of their workers, and the impact their industries are having on the global planetary environment, there seems to be both a deaf ear and a blind eye on those two fronts.
It used to be that capitalism was regulated, that capitalism was a respectable, respected and honourable means to harness the creative and competitive urges of the human spirit, participating in ways that generated profit, without casting the less fortunate, (or in their terms, the "least ambitious") aside to fend for themselves.
No longer.
And baking integrity "into the cake", while honourable and commendable, is far too late for the cake that we now know as capitalism.
And while new leaders are emerging every semester from all the prominent business schools, law schools and finance schools, the kind of tokenism that we see, for example, when MBA students take an oath to operate with integrity, as they did at Queens, we know that more tokenism, for the sake of appearances, and not for the purpose of transforming the way business is conducted, is on the way.

Don Tapscott: Transforming capitalism won’t happen without leadership

Capitalism must change fundamentally. But for that to happen, we need leadership.

By Don Tapscott, Toronto Star, May 17, 2013 Don Tapscott is Adjunct Professor at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and the Inaugural Fellow of the Martin Prosperity Institute. He is the author of 14 books most recently (with Anthony D. Williams) MacroWikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet. Twitter: @dtapscott

As knowledge becomes more distributed, so does power. People are becoming smarter, scrutinizing institutions, organizing collectively and forging innovative ways of doing almost everything. Peers are creating encyclopedias and new ways of funding entrepreneurship. Wiki-revolutions are challenging tyrants.

For capitalism to have a future it must change fundamentally. We need to understand that business can’t succeed in a world that’s failing. We need to bake integrity into corporate DNA. A good start is to rethink executive pay-packages so that corporate leaders are motivated to do the right thing.
Industrial capitalism brought representative democracy, but with a weak public mandate and inert citizenry. The digital age offers a new democracy based on public deliberation and active citizenship.
We need collaboration in areas such as education, health care and science. Cities must become open, with smart power grids, intelligent transportation systems and transparent government. Change is required urgently and the contours of a new model are emerging.
But we need leadership to make this transition. Many leaders of industrial capitalism will resist. History tells us those who don’t join in will be swept away.

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