Bill Gates has a interesting article up at Newsweek about how capitalism has helped many, but billions are still poor. He writes,
There’s much still to be done, but the good news is that creative capitalism is already with us. Some corporations have identified brand-new markets among the poor for life-changing technologies like cell phones. Others ? sometimes with a nudge from activists ? have seen how they can do good and do well at the same time. To take a real-world example, a few years ago I was sitting in a bar with Bono, and frankly, I thought he was a little nuts. It was late, we’d had a few drinks, and Bono was all fired up over a scheme to get companies to help tackle global poverty and disease. He kept dialing the private numbers of top executives and thrusting his cell phone at me to hear their sleepy yet enthusiastic replies. As crazy as it seemed that night, Bono’s persistence soon gave birth to the (RED) campaign. Today companies like Gap, Hallmark and Dell sell (RED)-branded products and donate a portion of their profits to fight AIDS. (Microsoft recently signed up too.)
There are many people who think that corporations can save people.
If that is the case then corporations are capable of serving two masters,
and we know how those narratives turn out.
If this is true, then explain to me, how can a corporation serve the interests
that it is created to serve, and also “help” people as well.
The next logical question is, what exactly is help?
There is a difference between giving and sharing.
There is difference between helping and eradicating poverty.
The entire time I am reading this article I am thinking
of Harvard Bankruptcy Professor, Elizabeth Warren’s, book
The Two Income Trap, and her comments from
her meeting with Citibank.
Citibank brought her in to show them how to reduce the losses incurred
when folks file for bankruptcy. She brought out her charts, graphs and they
listened to her say, “You need to stop loaning to people who cannot afford
to pay you back”.
The chair of the board responds saying ” We can’t do that Professor Warren,
that is where we make most of our profits”.
And that was that.
The credit card companies make most of their profits off of people who
can barely afford them in the first place.
It is a fee based industry that thrives on those who can’t afford them
in the first place.
The reason why most of your credit card bills come from South Dakota
is because South Dakota has the highest cap on interest rates, 24%,
in the country.
Capitalism primary goal is to enhance the pockets of its shareholders.
Expecting capitalism to help people is like expect dope dealers to save
the ‘hood. In fact, In many ways the crack game is capitalism in its
Move your product, buy low and sell high and if any one gets in
your way, they get eliminated.
Sounds like a Clipse song to me. It also sounds like Mergers and Acquisitions.
This is grim, but it has to be said. Too many people have laid their lives down
for us and if we do not say or do something our children will pay.
I will not have that on my heart.
It is only when we envision a future that is about sharing
rather than giving, about being a visionary, will we set forth
vision, strategy and an agenda that will cause us to bring forth the future
that we want for our children.