Michael is the Founder of BizEquity, Co-Author of The Mission Corporation. www.themissioncorps.org
The world is broken. Division is everywhere and seems to be the #1 export of the United States in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated trends that were in place before the Coronavirus.
We see the world as Before Corona (BC) and After Disease (AD). Covid-19 is a game-changing event, like 9/11 or the Second World War. But unlike previous devastating events that have changed world history and were levellers of equality, the global coronavirus pandemic has actually widened the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
At the beginning of 2020, the eight richest people owned half the world’s wealth. Between March 2020 and September 2020, the world’s billionaires’ net worth increased by nearly $1 trillion, while the global economy suffered the greatest recession it had seen since the Second World War. And one person – Jeff Bezos’s – increased his net worth by $50 billion dollars.
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While more than 1 million people have died from the coronavirus globally in 2020, 4 million have died from lack of access to clean water, and 9 million from hunger./ By the time you finish this sentence, ten people will have starved to death.
Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith changed the world nearly 250 years ago when he wrote The Wealth of Nations, which theorized that broad societal benefits would be gained by creating a free market and aligning economic incentives with goals – aka, modern capitalism. The ‘invisible hand’ would almost magically produce the optimized calculus of the collective objective. Smith defined capitalism in the same way that Newton had defined gravity: as a scientific force of nature.
Smith’s theory of modern capitalism has been the fundamental driver for global civilization being healthier, wealthier, and wiser over the last 250 years than during the 2500 years before them. Unfortunately, Smith’s concept of Capitalism, which assumed a moral good, has been hijacked by what we call ‘Darwin Capitalism’ – survival of the fittest. I win, you lose. Worse, Big technology and major media in North America are using this as ambers to stook the flames of racial division through the lens of economic injustice.
Remarkably, given socialism’s disastrous track record, over 50% think it’s a better system than capitalism in America.
Living under such a perverse interpretation of capitalism and its consequences, young people around the world are looking for an alternative path to happiness. Remarkably, given socialism’s disastrous track record, over 50% think it’s a better system than capitalism in America. Yet if you poll American students who are 15-17 years of age what they want to be when they grow up, #1 choice by far with over 60% is to be an entrepreneur. Clearly, there is a dichotomy here that presents a large opportunity to make the greatest economic system the world has ever known (Capitalism) better.
We believe that Adam Smith’s idea of free markets, aligning economic incentives with societal goals and the ‘invisible hand’ needs a refresh. We also believe that the basis for the underlying components of this refresh can be found in Smith’s first work “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
The concept of a Mission Corporation (Mission Corps) is to provide a new construct to help entrepreneurs and investors build new businesses that align all stakeholder's well-being with real actions through 7 declarations that entrepreneurs must take which can be found at www.themissioncorps.org.
A Mission Corporation combines the ambition of for-profit with the heart of not-for-profit. It recognizes that the most valuable and sustainable businesses have multiple stakeholders, shareholders, employees, customers, communities, and the environment. It acknowledges the undeniable fact that a company’s biggest asset is its people, who are seeking purpose from their time on earth. But in order for concepts and constructs like Missions Corps to succeed and help Capitalism sustain for the next 250 years, there needs to be a global incentive system embraced by governments around the world. The successful and incredibly bold “Entrepreneurs Relief Program” ushered in the last decade in the United Kingdom whereby risk and contribution from entrepreneurs in building their business were rewarded with tax incentives for founders and investors needs to be emulated. Incentive-based tax structures work.
The best form of capitalism is not socialism, but rather a better form of capitalism.
The best form of capitalism is not socialism, but rather a better form of capitalism. Adam Smith created modern capitalism nearly 250 years ago with his seminal work “The Wealth of Nations.” Today the world is much different we have moved from an agrarian society and industrial economy to digital knowledge, data, and innovation economy. We live in a global and mobile society where good ideas attached to capital and purpose-driven leaders create impact and change. These great entrepreneurs need to be the basis for the new economic revolution we are calling contemporary capitalism through Mission Corporations as their vehicles. Governments need to support and incentivize their creation and not stoke division through scarcity but abundance through an entrepreneur-led economic renaissance that knows no colour, race, gender, or creed.