Thursday, June 16, 2011

Corporate Responsibility

If the American economy produces more CEOs and business leaders like Whole Foods' John Mackey and Starbucks' Howard Schultz, then there is reason to be hopeful about the future of the American economy. If not, we are in serious trouble.

In his recent book Onward, as well as a series of speeches and public appearances, about his decision to return to the helm as CEO in 2008, Howard Schultz preaches the importance of corporate responsibility to the people they serve. Rather than being only focused on stock prices and growth, Schultz knows business leaders need to be "stewards of their community." For, if the people in the community do not earn a living wage with reasonable benefits and generate disposable income, they will not be able to afford to purchase products from, and even invest in, American companies.

Certainly, companies can search the world for capital, forever chasing new sources of wealth. However, the country would benefit from businesses investing in people, rather than seeking short-term gains. American corporate leaders could learn from German businesses who made controlling unemployment a priority in the recent recession. In response, Germany weathered the downturn and returned to productivity and growth far more quickly and effectively than the rest of world, especially America.

Let's hope American leaders learn.


Anonymous said...

Accept for a second that the two examples of responsibility that you cited really deserve to be held up as people to admire. The problem is that these two are exceptions.

We have government because it doesn't rely on the altruistic behavior of a few powerful people and, when not co-opted by the rich, serves the people that it governs.

P.S. - German businesses were REQUIRED by law to keep people on during the recession (reducing hours instead). Also, German corporations are structured much differently than American companies. Employees actually have a voice in a German corporation

mmazenko said...

Acknowledged ... but knowing the move toward oligarchy that has influenced America since the 1980s, we can only hope for benevolent business and political leaders who implement policies - both corporate and governmental - that promote a higher standard of living.