Although capitalism has been the most successful economic system in history, it has come under increasing criticism in recent years. To address this growing distrust, the authors advocate reforms to make capitalism more inclusive and accountable.
Does capitalism still work? In the newspapers and on TV, capitalism is being criticised everywhere as the source of rising inequality and a system that no longer works for the middle class. At the heart of the tension between capitalism and the “public good” lies the question of whether a company’s only goal is value maximisation for its shareholders or whether it has obligations to other stakeholders as well.
We dive into the history of both shareholder value maximisation and stakeholder capitalism and show how stakeholder capitalism has been implemented successfully—and sometimes not so successfully—in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. Furthermore, we show how sovereign wealth funds can act as shareholders that allow the “public” to participate in businesses.
We are capitalists and believe in the continued power of capitalism to create wealth, but we also see the need for a more inclusive approach to capitalism. In this note, we describe some features of sovereign wealth funds that can allow businesses to thrive while providing benefits for everyone and creating a more inclusive form of capitalism.