- Hall of Shame
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION: Old-style capitalism has lasted 150 years or more, depending on how you define it.
At its heart are conventional businesses—companies that are owned by investors and managed mostly for their benefit. That form of capitalism has been a powerful engine of economic development. It has lifted billions of people out of poverty and created a high standard of living for many. And some companies do a lot of good for everyone. While delivering solid returns to their owners, they also provide great products and services, treat customers and employees well, and act responsibly toward the community and the environment (see Pathbreakers).
But the structure of today’s capitalism encourages abuse. Concerned with creating value for shareholders or (often) riches for top management, many companies mislead their customers and mistreat or underpay their employees. They abuse the environment, try to avoid regulations and taxation, and threaten to move their operations elsewhere if they don’t get their way. Little wonder business has such a bad name these days.
Little wonder, too, that there’s so much research and experimentation aimed at developing better ways to organize and run a business. Which is what Retooling Capitalism is about.
So here’s what you’ll find:
This site is market friendly. We believe in free enterprise. But we think a free enterprise system has to work for the benefit of everyone, not just a few. We’re interested in alternatives, but we’re not beholden to any preconceived ideas or party platform. We’re pragmatists with (we think) values that are shared by a lot of people. Let us hear from you.
Picture this: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gives a press conference before the big game against the New York Jets. The Las Vegas line that week favors the Pats by 6½ and Brady is confident. “I think we’ll beat that spread,” he says. “In fact, right now we’re projecting a win by eight points.”
Later, after the game, Brady again talks to the press, this time apologetically. The Patriots have won by only four, so bettors who wagered on them lost money. “We didn’t anticipate the headwinds we would run into,” he confesses, referring to the Jets’ secondary. “I’m sure we’ll do better next game.” He himself, he acknowledges, lost a substantial amount of money when his team failed to beat the spread.
Such is the scenario one imagines after reading Roger L. Martin’s superb book Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011). Though couched in the measured language of a well-respected business school professor and management consultant, it is in fact a devastating indictment of the Anglo-American style of capitalism. After all, Martin points out, what we (absurdly) imagine Brady doing is pretty much … Read more >