Friday, May 30, 2014

Paul Polman — Business, society, and the future of capitalism

Capitalism has served us enormously well. Yet while it has helped to reduce global poverty and expand access to health care and education, it has come at an enormous cost: unsustainable levels of public and private debt, excessive consumerism, and, frankly, too many people who are left behind. Any system that prevents large numbers of people from fully participating or excludes them altogether will ultimately be rejected. And that’s what you see happening. People are asking, “What are we doing here? The amount of resources we currently use is 1.5 times the world’s resource capacity. Is that sustainable? A billion people still go to bed hungry. Is that sustainable? The richest 85 people have the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion. Is that sustainable?” Digitization and the Internet have given consumers enormous abilities to connect and aggregate their voices. Power is dispersed, but wealth is concentrated. Further development and population growth will put a lot more pressure on our planet....
"Power is dispersed, but wealth is concentrated." Huh?

Business, society, and the future of capitalism
Paul Polman | CEO, Unilever. The interview underlying this article was conducted by Rik Kirkland, McKinsey Publishing’s senior managing editor, who is based in McKinsey’s New York office.

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