Is it enough for a business to try to do good? Or, should we also be demanding that businesses do no harm? At stake in the answer is the future of the American workforce—and, perhaps, America itself.
This is the issue bestselling author Anand Giridharadas and B Lab’s co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert debated on Thursday night, at The Citizen’s sold-out event at Arch Street Presbyterian Church. Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World regaled the crowd with stories of what he sees as capitalist hypocrisy: Big businesses that gain praise for funding child health clinics, for example, while spending hundreds of millions lobbying against universal health care. His answer: Laws that change the structure of business in America.
Gilbert, on the other hand, is an evangelist for the triple bottom line way of doing business, as modelled by B Corps, companies set up with people, planet and profits on equal footing. He, too, advocates for change—but argues that the best way forward is with individual businesses, local governments and consumers leading the way.
Listen to a CitizenCast recap of the event here: