When the Business Roundtable took the bold step of redefining the purpose of the American corporation this past August, 181 CEOs signed a statement pledging that their corporations would commit to benefiting all of their stakeholders—meaning not just shareholders—including customers, employees, suppliers and the communities a company serves.
It was a welcome recognition that American’s faith in the private sector—in capitalism itself— has frayed and needs to be restored.
The gesture of realigning corporate values through a public statement is encouraging. But to get a better gauge of exactly how much more work needs to be done, we first need to understand how far corporate America has strayed from principles that were once the bedrock of a far more stable, prosperous, and egalitarian economy.
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