Investment >Innovation>Jobs = Compassionate Capitalism
I renamed my podcast radio show the Compassionate Capitalist Radio Show after the Great Recession in an attempt to plant the seed that all the money needed to grow our economy and create jobs was sitting on the sidelines. So when you take the passion of an entrepreneur and mash it up with the capitalist desires of an investor – you get Compassionate Capitalism. Unlike pure capitalism, compassionate capitalism isn’t just about making money, it is about making money with the purpose of bringing innovation to the market and creating jobs, leading to the wealth triggered when that business continues to a successful exit. Here’s the thing—In America, Compassionate Capitalism has been going on for a long time. Since Angel Investing was first coined as a description of those that invest in private endeavors, with the goal for the company to grow big, go public, and reap the returns on that investment, it has been the game the rich play to get richer.
Even when there was the dot.com collapse of the market….the angel investors had already made their big return on their money before the stocks collapsed on the stock market. Even with bombs like SnapChat IPO – the Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists make big multiples on their money, as the stock collapsed and those investors that got in on it when it first went public, lost a bunch. Without getting into all the rules covering this new era, lets just say — Anyone can get richer by investing in the entrepreneurial dream…. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur if you can invest in one. Angel Investors that people hear about making a lot of money from investing in Google, Facebook, Uber, or whatever is hot today, didn’t do it alone, and rarely just got lucky on making that great investment as their only investment.
The problem is that 90% of the people that could qualify to be an angel investor are either too busy with running their own company or in their executive position to commit the time the traditional angel groups require or they are geographically located not near an established angel group. A way to get the primer for angel investing and jump-start getting started identifying and vetting deals to find the ones that are right for your capacity to invest and your risk tolerance. It is my, the author’s, investment in YOU the future Compassionate Capitalist.
Beyond Kinder, Gentler Capitalism
The vast majority of the population is responsible for the creation of that wealth through work. The problem is one of distribution: resources are concentrated in the hands of a few economic elites, instead of being shared among the workers whose labor created it. CEOs at major US firms make over three hundred times what the typical worker does. Meanwhile American workers’ pay stagnates, the cost of living skyrockets, and the dwindling social safety net functions less as the guaranteed foundation of a good life than as a public subsidy for capitalists who refuse to pay their workers a living wage. You’ve got one guy, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, his wealth is increasing every single day by $250 million, but he pays many of his workers wages that are so low than many of them are on food stamps or on Medicaid.
It’s what capitalism trends toward, even when we try our best to contain it. To survive, workers are compelled to compete with other workers to sell their labor on the open market, prompting a race to the bottom. In order for their enterprises to stay afloat and to keep from becoming workers themselves, bosses are forced to compete with other bosses to maximize profit, which requires them to squeeze as much labor from workers for as little cost as possible, while also pressuring the state to deregulate industry, cut taxes, and so on. The wealth bosses were accruing during that period still made them much more powerful than workers. Saving capitalism is a heavy lift, and an end to inequality and class conflict under capitalism is structurally impossible.
If we’re going to invest in an ambitious political project, we’re better off setting our sights on a horizon beyond capitalism and on a new economic order, one that’s oriented around public well-being instead of private profits. At its core, it involves recognizing that the resources for a beautiful and fair world already exist – thanks to the labor of workers – and that those resources should be spent enriching the lives of the many instead of the elite few.
Infosys salary row: Narayana Murthy’s single-minded focus on compassionate capitalism is commendable
It’s easy to look at Narayana Murthy’s open letter on executive compensation as the first salvo of the second round between the Infosys veteran and current management led by Vishal Sikka. Murthy addressed the letter to select Alpha journalists who never miss an opportunity and made his instructions clear. It’s easier still to be deliberately mischievous and see Murthy’s sharp words singling out Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao as an expression of discomfort of the changing internal dynamics at Infosys. Rao was Murthy’s protégé, and probably still is; a fact Murthy explicitly brings out. At the risk of paraphrasing Murthy’s core thoughts, the veteran’s letter is more about the specific nature and character of capitalism that India needs to nurture for future generations, rather than about boardroom wars.
In the Indian corporate landscape, Murthy is a rare titan whose rootedness to values of equity and fairness is monkish. Yes Murthy still considers India a poor country, and quite rightly so considering that close to 60 percent of the country still lives on less than Rs 140 a day. Murthy’s parting shot in the letter is as telling about the current nature of capitalism in India, as it is about what the nature of capitalism in the country needs to be. In such a scenario, it might seem that Murthy is being too idealistic and possibly quite out of sync with the rest of the world. Murthy’s advocacy of compassionate capitalism has strong roots in the Nordic and Scandinavian models of corporate capitalism that not only engages intensively with a social welfare state, but also puts self-restraining caps on executive salaries.
Murthy is pointing to a model of capitalism that’s fundamentally different from the one that’s increasingly practiced in India. Instead of looking at Murthy’s letter only from the prism of Infosys and its changing dynamics, it would do all of us a world of good if we start looking at it as the first step to debating the contours of a new model of equitable capitalism for an emerging India.