Business. Society. Bail-Outs. Time for a New Contract?
As the world wakes up to another day in extended lockdown, never has the relationship between business and consumers been so poignant, so altruistic, so community focussed, so un-business-like.
Could this be the end of the unacceptable side of Capitalism? It certainly should be; this is not what Adam Smith had in mind
As Big Business begs for tax-payer bailouts, employees furloughed and SMEs unilaterally brought to their financial knees, we should remember that as recently as 2008, the tax-payer bailed-out the Banks on condition that they continued to lend to SME Businesses; they failed to make good on that promise and here we are in 2020 with CBILS, Banks are putting yet more obstacles in the way of lending to SMEs again.
Governments must press big business harder to pay their dues. Not much has changed since the crash.
Then there’s the pay gap with CEOs making in just 2.5 days what an average worker makes in a whole year. That is not leadership in action according to Professor Henry Mintzberg.
This issue has never seemed so excessive as it does now. Our economy is now completely and utterly reliant on people doing some of the most poorly paid jobs out there. In short supply and high demand, but without the corresponding market value.
Now is the time for a new contract with Business, Government and Society. A contract that is better for society, one that narrows the pay gap between the highest-paid Executive (previously considered the most important jobs) and the lowest-paid operative (Unskilled, less important). A contract that places real value on economic importance.
The brute force of nature has exposed what is most important to us in times of national emergency
Nurses, doctors, food production and delivery, childcare, emergency services, teachers, refuse collectors, care workers and retail staff. The jobs we all now value so much. Their worth to the economy felt by many for the very first time.
I have long been frustrated that successive governments are only too willing to handover bail-out monies without imposing strict conditions based on ensuring future good behaviour. Like rewarding a naughty child with yet more sweeties from the jar when they misbehave once again.
For sure, we need to protect our society and business is at the very heart of the matter. However, the ‘we are in this together’ spirit that we are seeing and experiencing so much of right now, shows what is truly possible when business and people come together for the greater societal good. But we need to see more of this spirit, more often.
Giving back on such a scale needs to be part of economic business as usual, not a CSR tick-sheet exercise
In this new world, where we finally see what really matters to us, should we seek to form a new contract between government, people and business to create a fairer, more balanced society?
I sound like a socialist (I am not) but I do hope if, out of this unholy mess, some societal good will come about...and right quick.
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