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New America Presents: Reimagining Capitalism in the COVID Era

Guest Event

Some say capitalism is broken. Others say it’s working just as intended. Either way, the current system has led to profound inequity. Globally, the 26 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion and in California, the 5th largest economy in the world, a handful of those very 26 reside in the same state where many cannot afford to pay for a $400 emergency.

Even before COVID’s economy-decimating effects, homelessness was at an all time high high and millennials were already predicted to become the first generation to do worse than their parents – not due to their stereotyped lack of diligence, but instead to the wealth gap and a wholesale lack of jobs that offer a living wage. In the midst of a global pandemic, when reimagining is perhaps at its most useful, where does business stand in all of this?

Half a century after economist Milton Friedman argued that a firm’s chief responsibility is to maximize shareholder returns, boardrooms across the US are rethinking the purpose of business. Corporate leaders across the world — including many in California — are considering a shift in focus to measure their stakeholder return: the value their companies deliver to customers, employees, communities, and the planet.

Join New America CA on Tuesday, October 20th at 11:00 AM Pacific (2:00 PM EDT) for a live-streamed conversation, building on the in-person event we held in February, on Reimagining Capitalism. Together we’ll explore questions such as:

  • Whose job is it to rebuild an inclusive and equitable economy that serves both wealth holders and those in economic precarity?
  • What should be the role of government in supporting corporate transparency regarding impact on stakeholders?
  • How has COVID-19 exacerbated the issue and/or opened a window of opportunity for systems change? Is a reimagined market system realistic?

Participants:

Jess Friesen@JessLFriesen
Senior Director of Community, B Lab

Lenny Mendonca@Lenny_Mendonca
Former Chief Economic & Business Advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom

Heerad Sabeti@4thSectorGroup
CEO, Fourth Sector Group

Moderator:

Autumn McDonald@Autumn_McDo
Senior Fellow & Head of New America CA