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Michael H. McCain: We Need A New Charter For Capitalism, And Here’s What It Should Include

Yes, capitalism is in peril and requires revolutionary thinking

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Capitalism as we know it requires a revolution in the way we think.

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A recent survey of 34,000 people from 28 major countries found that 56% of respondents think capitalism does more harm than good. I believe that the capitalism in which we were born, which dates back long before the industrial revolution, has produced extraordinary results for humanity. Yet we now know that it had terrible and inexcusable consequences directly related to the foundation of our way of life. The compromises are too great.

Our home, planet Earth, is on fire and the strength of our environment is deteriorating. Globalization has brought global prosperity, but largely in the context of a race to the bottom. There has been an intolerable increase in gross inequality and social injustice. We have known endless human conflict. And there has been a rapid decline in trust in all of our institutions.

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My generation failed the “test of the future” because of our short-term interests. It won’t resolve. The enormity of the challenges we face requires rethinking: A thought revolution to create a new “Charter of Capitalism”.

Drawing on insights and lessons from failure, I offer six themes for consideration.

A new Charter for Capitalism should:

1. Fairly recognize multiple stakeholders , rejecting the primacy of shareholders, including the environment, natural life and society as equally critical stakeholders.

2. It should work against short-termism , one of the curses of the modern functioning of the capital market, creating specific financial and motivational tools to achieve this.

3. It should accommodate government regulation to create competitive and level playing fields, not opportunities; rejecting the run down. Of course, all regulations must be efficient and effective, delivered by more cost-conscious governments to avoid waste.

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4. It should redefine human rights include a comprehensive and secure social safety net. Inequality is a social deficiency, and these human rights should include the right to safe housing, the right to a safe basic income, the right to safe food, the right to safe health care, the right to safe education, the right to equal opportunities and the right to live on a healthy planet.

5. He should agree to contribute more of the cost of these social human rights by privileged people who have the means, rejecting the idea that it is a simple transfer of wealth.

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6. And finally, it must ensure that all commercial relations are based on this new Charter, including ensuring jurisdictional breadth and consistency, locally, regionally and globally, and institutional support in places such as a revitalized World Trade Organization, to block opportunism.

I don’t believe this is a rejection of everything we know about a capitalist society and the progress it has brought. I would never advocate turning your back on him. I believe that a new charter should be a revolutionary new version, which would create the world that our generation should have left to the next but hasn’t…at least not yet. This is a vision of value creation that we pursue at Maple Leaf Foods, a vision that sees great business opportunity in channeling our resources to tackle the monumental social and environmental issues of our time, including our climate crisis. and food insecurity.

Leadership of this effort cannot be confined to government, NGOs or social activists. It can only succeed with the direct engagement of forward-thinking business leaders.

Yes, capitalism is in peril and requires revolutionary thinking. Change begins with a new vision of the future. Some might face this prospect with denial, cynicism or fear. I think it offers hope for a sustainable and equitable path – and hope is always inspiring.

Michael H. McCain is President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

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