We’ve been told ‘survival of the fittest is natural law, that self-interest is our prime directive. But if that were true, we, as a species, would not have survived. New scientific studies have shown that we are also an altruistic species.
We are hard-wired to survive, but we are hard-wired to cooperate also. Without cooperation, we, in fact, cannot survive.
Two weeks ago, members of the Business Roundtable issued a statement that they have changed their focus, and that all stakeholders, not just shareholders, should now be considered in corporate decisions. The leaders who ran American businesses after World War II understood this. They knew they had to be mindful of their workers and their customers (often one and the same), that without their support, eventually those businesses would fail.
The economic philosophy that became ascendant in the 1980s, fathered by Milton Friedman, was that “shareholder value,” or stock price, was paramount in business decisions. This upside-down view has led to stagnant wages, lack of social mobility and income inequality.
It turned Wall Street from an engine of investment capital into a casino. The “greed is good” era has only been good for the top 1%.