My guest today makes the case that corporations are broken, reflecting no purpose deeper than profit. But the tools we are relying on to fix them—corporate social responsibility, divestment, impact investing, and government control—risk making our problems worse. If we can make our corporations accountable to a deeper purpose, we can make capitalism both prosperous and good.
For example, what happens when the sustainability-driven CEO of Unilever takes on the efficiency-obsessed Warren Buffett? Does Kellogg’s—a company founded to serve a healthy breakfast—have a sacred duty to sell sugary cereal if that’s what maximizes profit? For decades, government has tried to curb CEO pay but failed. Why? Can Harvard students force the university to divest from oil and gas? Does it even matter if they do?
Michael O’Leary and Warren Valdmanis go on a fast-paced insider’s journey that can change the way we look at corporations. Likely to spark controversy? Yes. But don’t cynics and dreamers both have a stake in reforming capitalism? Or is it fine as is? Tough questions.
Bio: Michael O’Leary was on the founding team of Bain Capital’s social impact fund. Previously, he invested in consumer, industrial, and technology companies through Bain Capital’s private equity fund. He has served as an economic policy advisor in the United States Senate and on two presidential campaigns.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- Corporate Structure
- Warren Valdmanis
- Business Value
- Gun Violence
- Global Corporations
- Capitalism in America
Mentions & Resources:
- Michael O’Leary
- Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism
- Jeff Bezos – CEO of Amazon
- Warren Buffet