What if: Companies actually invested in their success?

As we approach 2023, post the 21st Century’s first pandemic, what if companies actually invested in their success? Let’s be bold. Rather than managing their business for the next 3 months and catering to shareholders, wonder if they did what was best for their employees, their supply chains, their communities and the world? This is a fundamental flaw of modern capitalism that needs to be fixed. We are told only profits matter for a company. That is a lie. Ethics matter, society matters, our health matters, our only home matters.

Four examples. The first, Exxon. Exxon scientists knew in the 1970’s that unrelenting global emissions caused by burning fossil fuels would warm the planet and make the climate more erratic. For decades, Exxon CEO’s ignored the results. Why? Shareholder profits, at the expense of making the irreplaceable earth uninhabitable.

Next, the US railroad strike. This was prevented by an act of Congress. Workers were asking for fair wages and sick leave to visit a doctor. Nope. What modern company doesn’t have sick leave for their workers? Workers are presumed to be dispensable cogs, replaceable. They are not presumed to have training, knowledge, experience, or provide insight to make things better. Railroads thought of workers as liabilities, not as foundational assets to grow the business. What an idea to pay workers properly for their work and allow them to visit the doctor to get well!! Railroads hyperbolically shriek, our profits may go down 1%! Our CEO won’t be able to have dozens of houses! Oh the pity.

Our third example, Twitter. Lord and savior Elon gutted the content moderation and HR teams, laid off most senior executives, reduced the workforce by 2/3 in two weeks, didn’t product test, threatened to go after his advertisers, allowed anyone to impersonate anyone else for $8 a month, kicked off journalists and was forced to bring them back, embraced politicians that don’t believe in climate change, and allowed fascists and anti-Semites back on the platform. As the majority shareholder, that’s his right to burn his money. His actions impact users, employees, tight-knit communities, journalists, governments and pro-democracy actions around the world. It’s the opposite of investment, it’s burning money without care, with reckless abandon. I happily disconnected my accounts from Twitter.

Finally, many stories are emerging of Southwest’s disastrous handling of the fierce bomb cyclone storm leading into Christmas and New Year’s. Two decades of neglect in workers, modern systems, and policies led Southwest to cancel up to 70% of their flights on certain days, well after the storm ended. Management was repeatedly warned by pilots and front line workers and those warnings were ignored. Short term profits, stock buybacks, management enrichment, and coasting on a previous stellar reputation led to this awful breakdown in service. You couldn’t pay me any amount to fly on Southwest today.

The common themes are a lack of respect for workers, lack of respect for things outside of profits, siloed thinking, lack of investment in people and updated processes, the opposite of a systems approach, and an unholy focus on corporations health at the expense of everything else. If we are to progress as a species, to safeguard our home, accountability and reform are necessary. Accountability and reform can only come from a larger organization than rich corporations or entitled billionaires, that’s principled government and an enlightened citizenry. We live in the 21st century, yet we live in outdated ideas originating from centuries before.

B-corps are the opposite to this trend. Becoming recognized as a B-corp is incredibly hard. These companies work for the benefit of owners, workers, communities, and the world at large. More of them need to be encouraged.

As I reach the middle of my life and reflect, I know my individual voice can not do much. I recognize that if change is needed, I need to embody that change, doing my small part to change a colossal whole. This kind of change can not be imposed top down, this change needs to be organically nurtured bottoms up. At smilingdad, we need to be the change we want others to be, to lead the way. Each of us can make the world a better place, by our everyday actions. That is how we overcome the lack of dignity given to our fellow people, that is how we reap the rewards of all life has to offer us.

Sincerely yours,


Published by smilingdad

My story is one of tragedy and redemption. We've made many mistakes along the way regarding our money. Our goal here is to show you how to take care of your money life long, and as much as we can, help the Earth along the way. I call it sustainable personal finance and ethical capitalism. Currently, I am a part time writer for Cleantechnica and part-time licensed financial professional, along with being a full-time dad.

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