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caption: Professor Rebecca Henderson
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Professor Rebecca Henderson
Credit: Courtesy of Rebecca Henderson

Have we reached ‘the beginning of the great change?’ This professor is hopeful we have

Capitalism: thumbs up, or thumbs down? Run amok, it’s a planet destroyer. Properly regulated, it’s the engine of a free, thriving economy.

“Capitalism has shortfalls. It doesn't necessarily take care of the poor, and it underfunds innovation, so we have to offset that.” –Bill Gates

People with the urge to “make the world a better place” run up against the excesses of unfettered capitalism all the time. Especially now, with warnings about climate change and limited resources, the sand in the hourglass of Earthly sustainability seems to be dwindling.

Economist and Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson is the author of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire. In it, she takes on the theory that corporate leaders exist, in most part, to follow Milton Friedman’s advice and maximize shareholder value. Damn the consequences.

That era of economic thinking is changing, but can we reverse the damage done? Henderson argues that a pro-public, pro-environment, pro-education version of capitalism is achievable.

In case studies of corporations, she finds that “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” are a viable possibility. The keys are long-term thinking, political and corporate responsibility, and changes in individual and societal behavior.

Rebecca Henderson spoke in this Town Hall Seattle livestream on May 10. Town Hall’s Wier Harman moderated the event.

Link to The Business Case for Saving Democracy: Why free markets need free politics

Please note: This recording contains one unedited word of an adult nature.