Brat’s spiritual life has long been as central to his identity, even though it has also been difficult to pigeonhole. He currently attends a Catholic church, but he also identifies as a Calvinist, and he lists four churches as affiliations on his resume: St. Michael’s Catholic, Christ Church Episcopal, Third Presbyterian, and Shady Grove Methodist. He earned his bachelors from Hope College, a Christian liberal arts college in Holland, Mich., which is historically affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, a Protestant denomination that sprouted during the 17th century. Through all of that, one aspect of his faith has been constant: Brat takes the Protestant work ethic seriously.
Like many of his Tea Party colleagues, Brat is an Ayn Rand enthusiast, and coauthored a paper assessing the moral foundations of her writings in 2010. Like many Protestants in the classic Calvinist tradition, he believes Christ is the transformer of culture, and that capitalism is the key to this world transformation. His core argument is that capitalism and Christianity should merge. He believes their union is so important that making disciples of capitalism is Brat’s own version of Jesus’ Great Commission. If you preach the gospel and make people good, he argues, then you make the markets good.
Individuals are morally responsible to work hard and advance themselves in society, so his theory goes, and then ultimately the capitalist system should help people advance and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. That message puts Brat at odds with the global leader of the church he attends, Pope Francis, who holds a view on the other end of the spectrum-the Pope’s recent messages have warned that capitalism often exploits the poor, and must be moderated. The consequences of not pursuing this radical capitalist agenda are drastic: if the church does not respond to the reality of capitalism, he writes, society could potentially face a downfall like Nazi Germany.
The Benefits Of Conscious Capitalism
Some of you may be familiar with the term Corporate Social Responsibility, popularised in the 1960’s, which is a set of initiatives a company can implement alongside their existing business practices. Corporate social responsibility strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others. Conscious Capitalism is simply an advancement of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility but it evolved to a more holistic way of thinking about the term. As Corporate Social Responsibility would be an aspect of your organisation, possibly siloed in its efforts and thought of as a cost centre, Conscious Capitalism is reflected in who you are and how you behave across your entire organisation. The report found compelling statistics that support the conscious capitalism ideology – from a consumer’s standpoint. 96% have a more positive image of a conscious company than one without socially responsible practices. 92% would buy a product with a social and/or environmental benefit if given the opportunity, and 67% have done so in the past 12 months.
Raj, who has consulted with and taught programs for enterprises like AT&T, LG, Sprint, Volvo, IBM, Walmart and McDonalds, truly believes in harnessing the power of capitalism for good. To Raj, the conscious aspect of conscious capitalism enhances everything about the capitalism model. Through rigorous research of companies like Southwest Airline, Starbucks and Whole Foods, Raj found that over a 15-year period, conscious capitalist companies had investment returns of 1646%, whereas the S&P 500 companies did 157% over the same time frame. Like many business decisions, choosing a conscious capitalist path is both an investment and a risk, but with the right strategies and supports, Raj says it’s well worth it. In his many years of experience, Raj has witnessed the business benefits of a conscious capitalist time and time again.
Health Matters: ‘Compassionate capitalism’ brings affordable health care to world’s poor – The Mercury News
Social entrepreneur David Green envisions a time when poor people worldwide will have access to medical care and technology that is both affordable and sustainable. Aurolab sells affordably priced intraocular lenses and other ophthalmic products to developing countries. Green is an Ashoka Fellow and vice president with Ashoka, a MacArthur Fellow, and he is involved in numerous social enterprise initiatives, including a partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to develop sustainable eye care programs. Green has a BA and a master’s in public health degree from the University of Michigan, and lives in El Cerrito. The entity I helped set up in South India, Aurolab, does this by providing intraocular lenses for cataract surgery at a very affordable price.
If the Googles of the world can have $25 million in initial investment and go public – and be worth $66 billion in short order or whatever it is – social enterprises need to figure out how to do that. Today Aurolab has 8 percent of the global market share for intraocular lenses, sells close to 1.5 million a year, and has helped over nine million people see. I would love to convince a large corporation to use their core competencies and assets to do a differentiated product line at a much lower price to make that affordable to lower-income people. I’ve been successful at reducing pricing because the issue really isn’t cost – it’s price. If you look at how a product is supplied and the different margin eaters in the food chain – and how you can cut some of them out – that can lead greatly to making things affordable.
If you think about antiretroviral therapy for AIDS patients, the Clinton Foundation and others have done a marvelous job of getting Indian generic companies to make antiretrovirals for about $100-$150 per patient – but I bet it costs them no more than $10 per patient per year. Those are the kind of things that need to be brought to global health.