Ethical Capitalism Essay

2883 Words Oct 25th, 2012 12 Pages
GOOD EVENING
I’M HERE TONIGHT TO TALK ABOUT CAPITALISM.
I’M HERE BECAUSE A FEW WEEKS AGO I SAT ON A PANEL AT CBS ASSESSING STUDENTS WHO HAD APPLIED FOR OVERSEAS INTERNSHIPS
I EXPECTED TO MEET DENMARK’S NEXT GENERATION OF BUSINESS LEADERS
INSTEAD I MET DENMARK’S NEXT GENERATION OF NGO OFFICERS, CHARITY WORKERS AND UNITED NATIONS BUREAUCRATS.
ONE STUDENT AFTER ANOTHER TOLD ME HOW THEY HAD NO INTEREST IN A CAREER IN BUSINESS.
HOW BUSINESS PEOPLE ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN MONEY.
IT WAS AS IF CAPITALISM WAS SYNONYMOUS WITH EXPLOITING THE POOR, PUTTING CHILDREN TO WORK IN FACTORIES, DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT.
IT WAS AS IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD BEEN POISONED, THAT A COLLECTIVE GROUPTHINK HAD TAKEN HOLD AND IT HAD BECOME IMPOSSIBLE TO STAND UP
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AND YET THE MARKET ECONOMY IS UNDER ASSAULT.
OUR STREETS ARE FILLED WITH PROTESTERS – ANTI-CAPITALIST, ANTI-AUSTERITY, ANTI-BANKING, ANTI GLOBALISATION –
IT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU TO HEAR: I AGREE WITH THEM.
THE SYSTEM IS ROTTEN.
BUT I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH THEIR ANALYSIS OF WHY IT’S ROTTEN.
CAPITALISTS ARE NOT EVIL. FAR FROM IT.
IN MY CAREER I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO SERVE AS THE PRESIDENT OF COCA-COLA’S AFRICA DIVISION.
I RAN A VERY LARGE BUSINESS, WITH OVER 75 MANUFACTURING PLANTS IN 39 COUNTRIES IN SUB SAHARAN AFRICA.
MY FRIENDS, WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN SUCH A POSITION YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE LIVES
YOU HAVE LEVERS AT YOUR DISPOSAL THAT THE PLACARD WAVERS IN THEIR TENTS IN THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT WILL NEVER HAVE – AND YOU CAN USE THAT POWER TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.
SO ASK YOURSELF THIS:
IF YOU FOUND YOURSELF RUNNING A BILLION DOLLAR DIVISION OF A MULTINATIONAL SOMEWHERE IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD – INDONESIA, VIETNAM, BOLIVIA, WHEREVER – WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
WOULD YOU PUT CHILDREN TO WORK IN YOUR FACTORIES?
WOULD YOU PUMP RAW SEWAGE INTO THE LOCAL RIVERS?
WOULD YOU EXPLOIT THE POOR?
OF COURSE NOT.
AND NOR DID I.
WHAT I DID DO WAS USE MY POSITION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE IN THE AFRICAN CONTINENT.
IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THE WAY BUSINESSES CONDUCT THEMSELVES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD THEN DON’T

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