Richard Branson says we should rethink #capitalism

In a tweet promoting Just Capital , he says:

“It’s time to rethink capitalism and for business to do things differently”

When McKinsey ran their Long Term Capitalism challenge 5 years ago, ‘Re-imaginging Capitalism: The New Bottom Line’ was one of my contributions.

It quoted from our 1996 position paper:

“The P-CED concept is to create new businesses that do things differently from their inception, and perhaps modify existing businesses that want to do it”

It concluded:

‘Just changing the way business is done, if only by a few companies, can change the flow of wealth, ease and eliminate poverty, and leave us all with something better to worry about. Basic human needs such as food and shelter are fundamental human rights; there are more than enough resources available to go around — if we can just figure out how to share. It cannot be “Me first, mine first”; rather, “Me, too” is more the order of the day.’

The primary focus of our ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine had been children described as economic orphans, often instutionalised due to their disabilities, is places we’d described as ‘Death Camps, For Children

Founder Terry Hallman pulled no punches when describing the root cause — oligarchic greed.

“Excuses won’t work, particularly in light of a handful of oligarchs in Ukraine having been allowed to loot Ukraine’s economy for tens of billions of dollars. I point specifically to Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Poroshenko, and Kuchma, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list. These people can single-handedly finance 100% of all that will ever be needed to save Ukraine’s orphans. None of them evidently bother to think past their bank accounts, and seem to have at least tacit blessings at this point from the new regime to keep their loot while no one wants to consider Ukraine’s death camps, and the widespread poverty that produced them..”

The same group of people are tagged “Ukraine’s Scrooges” in Kyiv Post.

When the ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine was published online 10 years ago, it argued the case for applying business to resolve a wide range of social problems.

18 months later, Richard Branson was at Davos telling a roundtable that ‘business should focus more on solving social problems’.

“Capitalism is the only economic system that really works”, he underlined, saying that the downside of the capitalist system is accumulation of great wealth in hands of relatively small number of people. “Not all of these people use their assets to create new jobs and new opportunities.” Branson stated.

This is precisely why social role of business, as said by Richard Branson, is so important in modern world. “A modern company should focus not only on making money, but also on solving social problems and investing in protection of environment.”

The event, known as the Ukrainian Lunch was hosted by Viktor Pinchuk, one of the “insanely greedy oligarchs” of the ‘Death Camps’ story.

In 2005 on Maidan, Terry Hallman had warned of the risk of violent unrest as a peaceful revolution drew the attention of ‘economic hit men’

“Elimination of graft and corruption, and raising the overall standard of living for ALL Ukrainians rather than a few insanely greedy oligarch clans, was the main underlying and implied reason for the Orange Revolution — at least from hundreds of people, activists and otherwise, I talked with on the ground during and after the Revolution. Further, as director for any sort of peace institute, Mr. Aslund is obliged to review the connection between poverty and peace. Peace does not and cannot exist for people in poverty, unless they are harshly suppressed by government or other forces. Poverty is a horrible existence and lifestyle, and is bound to breed violence, not peace.”

In February 2014, in response to a government decision to reject an EU access agreement in favour of funding from Russia, Ukrainian activists took to the streets.

I wrote again to local MEPs, reminding them of earlier appeals to point out that Maidan leaders and many others were now calling for a ‘Marshall Plan’, as part of their appeal for support from Europe:

“Support political reforms and economic development: When the new government is in place, support Ukraine financially to get on a path of sustainable economic revival. A kind of „Marshall Plan“, can bring long-term economic benefits to Ukraine and save it from otherwise imminent long-term default.

“We would like to call you to do everything in your power as a MEP to assist Ukrainians to win this vehement fight for their rights and values for which Europe stands for too. We kindly ask you to discuss these issues within the European Parliament during the discussion on Ukraine and raise them with the EU institutions, EU member states and international organisations who may assist Ukrainians in their struggle for justice, citizens’ rights and return to political and economical stability.”

It was Davos time again. The same ‘insanely greedy oligarch’ was lamenting the loss of life during a panel discussion chaired by Tony Blair, with Richard Branson and Muhammad Yunus on the panel. The topic — Can capitalism deliver both financial and social returns?

I wonder if Virgin who recently sued our NHS over contracts it didn’t win just happens to be on the Just Capital list?

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Jeff Mowatt

Putting people above profit, a profit-for-purpose business #socent #poverty #compassion #peoplecentered #humaneconomy