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Capitalism Conversation


Submitted By pinkcheer
Words 2493
Pages 10
ADI IGNATIUS: Now, your article is meant to fix a problem. What is the problem?
MICHAEL PORTER: Well, the problem is I think we've gotten into a very vicious cycle in thinking about the relationship between business and society. And really, the purpose of capitalism, and the benefits of the capitalist system to society, and to meeting society's needs-- needs like improving people's lives, and improving the health of communities. We've gotten into a cycle where, I think, business has evolved and thinking about business management has evolved, in a direction that we've narrowed the scope of how you create economic value. And increasingly, companies are being perceived as creating profit at the expense of the community, not creating profit that actually ultimately benefits the communities.
As a result of this, I think government has increasingly seen business as a problem, as a source of bad things in society. And the mindset is becoming increasingly to regulate, to control, to tax. And ultimately, now often political leaders are unable to pursue business-friendly public policies, because the political environment almost forces them to be tough on business. Despite the fact that we know at some deep level, business and society need each other. But we've kind of gotten ourselves into a bad place.
ADI IGNATIUS: But, I think a lot of business people would argue, what we do is run businesses, and we make profits. And when we're successful we hire people. And that's all we can do. To have an agenda beyond that is really outside of our scope.
MICHAEL PORTER: Yup. Well, that has been the increasingly well-articulated view about the relationship between business and society over the last 20 or 30 years. Milton Friedman famously argued that the social responsibility of business was to maximize its profits. And this simple act of profit maximization was good,

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