I love crowdfunding, because it's like watching money have a wrestling match with ideas. It's capitalism in microcosm. It's important to not lose sight of the lesson here: Crowdfunding websites are not responsible for anything that happens once you've contributed. You are leaving your money on the table, walking away, and hoping for the best.
There's vast potential for an additional revenue stream that can more than offset the losses of choosing not to sell cigarettes in their pharmacies. CVS's move is not only socially conscious; it's also a shrewd business move. And smart, educated, and astute consumers don't begrudge a company posting a profit, if their demands have been met and their concerns addressed.
Any time of year is a good time to discuss poverty but the subject has obvious resonance at Christmas. Thus, unsurprisingly, Pope Francis recently wrote about the necessity of compassion for those on the margins. However, the Pope's letter also took capitalism in general to task -- troubling because the relationship between wealth creation and the alleviation of (some) poverty is often misunderstood. The Pontiff's critique will not necessarily correct this confusion. The Pope's letter is a broad-brush critique but thoughtful readers should pause, ponder and then object.
Bob Cratchit comes out as the true hero of Dicken's novel A Christmas Carol -- a worker, a family man, a believer in the goodness of people. London, Ontario just witnessed a similar example yesterday, as Kellogg's employees, despite the devastating news of the impending shutdown, raised $10,000 and purchased quality foodstuffs for the local food bank. If we are ever to find a reason for believing in Christmas, this is it.
Everyone knows the Conservative government is an unabashed supporter of corporations and foreign investors. They have slashed environmental oversight; attacked labour unions; opened the telecommunications sector up to majority foreign ownership; tripled the financial threshold point where the government must do a "net benefit" test of a foreign corporate takeover. Clearly, big business has gotten almost everything it has wanted from Harper's Conservatives. What should we learn from the fact that it still pushes for more? Perhaps a simple truth about capitalism: There is never enough profit.
The concept of sustainability is not just a feel-good marketing concept; it is both a moral and functional imperative. And so, to make the financial case for paying farmers more is simple: if we don't do it now, there won't be coffee to sell later. To make the humanitarian case for it is just as simple: coffee farmers deserve better.
One of the great mysteries of contemporary capitalism is the fact that as a system it appears absolutely incapable of responding to the crisis of climate change. Why can't a system that made the automobile into an accessible mass consumer good provide us with clean and efficient mass transit, or at the very least electric cars? On this matter, the forces of the market are curiously silent.
"Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid." Though I strongly agree with these words, they came from someone just a bit more glamorous than me -- Bono. The West's relationship with the poor is based on condescension and charity. When it comes to helping the poor get out of the poverty trap, one should not be trapped in preconceived ideas.
There are a number of human financial gurus working to help you become wealthy, and their advice is based on years if not decades of knowledge and experience. However, there are a number of microbial economic geniuses who have centuries of expertise developing "economic" success. Germs seem to have knowledge to keep economies solid.
At first sight, the reaction of the three big players to Verizon's possible entry onto the Canadian market seems to be another illustration of their tendency to quash competition. A casual observer might be tempted to think that they're trying to secure government protection against a new player that poses a real threat to their market shares. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If the world was like The Walking Dead then it would be a world where nearly everyone alive speaks English, nearly everyone is white, and male. The biggest failure of the show is to have the audience rooting for a society that preaches tired principles of violence, lack of community, selfishness, capitalism, patriarchy, and shoot-first mentality.
While Canada is so good and efficient at squeezing every available drop of profit out of our opportunities, we seem to have missed the most important lesson they teach in the School of Capitalism: strategic planning. And suddenly, after so many fat cow years, our customers' tastes started to change -- and, in record fast time, we started look and behave like the world's least sophisticated capitalists. We may have been the envy of the world but we were actually amateurs all through the fat cow years and now we're starting to pay for it.
Another sordid example of banksterism -- money laundering -- surfaced this week accompanied, not surprisingly, by a blistering global poll that shows faith in capitalism is shrinking. The HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation), the largest financial institution in Europe, revealed "major internal-control problems" and plans to apologize for its lapses next week to members of a U.S. Senate subcommittee into terrorist and trafficking money laundering.
Ask anyone with a shred of a conscience, and they'll tell you that they want a cleaner and more equitable world. With the rise of social media, consumers are becoming increasingly more intelligent and aware of the implications of their purchases. We are shopping not only for value, but with values. That's a major culture shift.
The cynics in the not-for-profit space would argue that profit and "good" cannot possibly be synonymous. But has the obsession with "giving back" made any difference at all? The successful businesses of the future will be the ones that figure out how to maximize profit as they maximize their positive impact on the world.