Tom Wilson’s Oct. 3 op-ed, “Companies must be forces for good,” nailed one of the most important and necessary changes occurring in modern capitalism — a shift from focusing on short-term, narrow self-interest to building long-term value for a company’s many stakeholders, including the planet. Business leaders who understand how to contribute to solving the world’s most pressing challenges will be the winners of the 21st century.
Mr. Wilson is correct in saying that corporations are key to achieving sustained social impact, but we also need to create ecosystems that support entrepreneurs working toward the same goal. According to the United Nations, most of the jobs we need to create in the next 20 years will come from companies that do not today exist. This means the core values and purposes driving the next generation of business leaders matter. From socially conscious “B corporations” to “impact investing,” the forces working to evolve capitalism are gaining momentum. We can accelerate this change by rewarding companies that are designed to solve social problems, not just make a quick buck for their owners.
Ben Powell, Washington
Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson makes a welcome admission that companies must do more than merely focus on the bottom line.
But the leading big-business voice in Washington — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which Mr. Wilson is vice chairman — is one of the loudest proponents of policies that harm workers, consumers, the environment and democracy.
The Chamber opposes raising the minimum wage and recently sued to prevent millions of workers from getting paid for the overtime they work. It also sued to block efforts to combat climate change and went to court to ensure U.S. companies can continue dodging taxes by reincorporating overseas. The Chamber opposes efforts to require public disclosure of corporate political spending and limit corporate money in politics.
The Chamber’s reactionary agenda would create a society of low-paid workers ruled by a corporate overclass that would control our elected officials, pay little in taxes and pollute as much as it wanted. If Mr. Wilson is serious about corporations being a force for good, then he must denounce the Chamber’s agenda. If the Chamber is unwilling to change, then Mr. Wilson and Allstate must leave the Chamber.
Dan Dudis, Washington
The writer is director of
Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch Program.