Summary of Moral Capitalism

Reconciling Private Interest with the Public Good

Berrett-Koehler, more...

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Moral Capitalism book summary
What choices face ethical capitalists? For instance, do firms owe moral allegiance to shareholders or to all of us?


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The corporate scandals of recent years have led to much hand wringing about corporate values. Now comes Stephen Young, head of the Caux Round Table - an international network of executives focused on corporate responsibility - with simple rules for turning the hand wringing into action. Some of Young’s advice seems to be common sense: Tell the truth, for instance, and follow the law. By encouraging capitalists to go beyond following the letter of the law, Young offers a useful guide to ethical decision making. At times, though, he seems to give capitalists a free pass. For instance, Young argues that moral capitalists have little responsibility to withhold harmful products such as cigarettes and liquor from consumers who want to buy them. recommends this easy-to-digest study to anyone intrigued by the ethical implications of capitalism. The book is a useful presentation of the argument that capitalism, the most powerful economic system in history, must balance might and right.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to distinguish between brute capitalism and moral capitalism
  • What the seven principles of moral capitalism demand
  • What obligations employers have to employees


The Capitalist Conundrum: Brutality or Morality?
In recent years, extremists have hijacked capitalism with the belief that a business person’s job is to make money at any cost. Devotees of libertarian novelist Ayn Rand embrace this form of brute capitalism or Social Darwinism. Brute capitalists...
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About the Author

Stephen Young is global executive director of the Caux Round Table and president of Winthrop Consulting and the Minnesota Public Policy Forum. He attended Harvard Law School and is a former assistant dean of the school. He attended high school in Thailand and is an expert on East Asia.

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