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Capitalism at the Crossroads

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Capitalism at the Crossroads

The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World's Most Difficult Problems

Wharton School Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Socially responsible capitalism aimed at sustainable development could both make money and save the world.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


This interesting and provocative book synthesizes several of the most influential ideas in modern business and distills a new idea: that disruptive innovation at the bottom of the pyramid will solve the crises of environmental pollution, business stagnation and international terrorism at the top. No one can accuse author Stuart L. Hart of thinking small or of lacking imagination. His big ideas are all in place. The only missing element, as he freely admits, is one small detail: how. Capitalism must take a new course, and it's pretty clear what the new course must be, but Hart presents only a vague notion of how businesspeople are to go about turning his vision into reality. recommends that business leaders read this book anyway, because it will stimulate your thinking about what might be possible. Maybe you'll be the one to figure out how to make the difference.


The Crossroads

A confluence of economic, technological and sociological forces poses a threat to the survival of market capitalism. Ironically, this threat looms even at the moment of market capitalism's apparently unchallenged triumph over its 20th century antagonist, communism. The fall of the Berlin Wall led to global recognition of the power of open, democratic societies and market economies to transform lives and create wealth.

Yet the spread of market capitalism throughout the world has not resolved the problems of pollution, poverty, political oppression and festering cultural antipathies. The events of September 11, 2001, were a dramatic reminder of the fate that could lie in store for market capitalism. Unless it takes a new direction, global capitalism will not stand. It will collapse in its own debris.

The Solution: Sustainable Development

The solution to all of the world's most pressing environmental and social problems is obvious: sustainable development. This kind of development provides for the needs of the present and leaves enough to provide for the needs of future generations. New development strategies must serve the entire human population...

About the Author

Stuart L. Hart is S. C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.

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