In January this year, Bill Gates, a 21st-century entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist, told the World Economic Forum in Davos: ‘We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well.’
He has called this idea ‘creative capitalism’. By harnessing the basic factor that drives capitalism – self-interest – creative capitalism can enhance the interests of the giver and the recipient.
I agree. I think capitalism is a proven system: it works. But it has a lot of faults. Breathtaking wealth goes to relatively few people. This would not matter so much, were it not for the fact that the very poorest in society are destitute, lacking even the basic amenities for survival.
This being the case, an enormous responsibility falls on successful business leaders. They need to reinvest their wealth by creating new jobs or by tackling the social problems of the world, or preferably both.
Capitalism as an ideology needs work and reform. It has to be more than the survival of the fittest. But there is such a thing as enlightened self-interest, and we should encourage it.
However difficult it might be to accept this in our present global predicament, it is possible to turn a profit while making the world a better place.