Benevolent Thoughts

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It’s time to see what this is all about.  I am a Benevolent Baron, he who seeks to harness the power of the market to bring sustainable social good.  He, who is at once a capitalist and a socialist; individualist yet public servant; an entrepreneur, yet I have my boss: Humanity.

At the turn of the 20th century, there were men who changed the face of the world.  JP Morgan monopolized markets and fattened his pockets.  John D. Rockefeller amassed a personal fortune to rival gods.  They pursued personal gain with a fervor unknown in previous eras, with a disregard for public welfare unfathomable in democratic society.  They were the robber barons, and they won.

In the new century, the Benevolent Baron marches into the fray, infused with a similar greed, though not for money.  Not for fame.  But for social and economic justice for all.

The Benevolent Baron seeks to integrate capitalist ideas into the public and social sectors.  To ensure that aid organizations maximize the social returns on their investments.  To found businesses that solve human problems.  To tear down the ruthless ethic that has left far too many behind in the race for survival and joy.  To redefine the bottom line.

The robber barons eyed the bottom line as if it were an EKG on their own lives.  They rose and fell with the schizophrenic swoops of the market.  Yet the success and failure implicit in that bottom line has been of one measure, the easiest and most universal to mankind: numerical.  The Benevolent Baron embraces the numbers, yet applies a secondary measure.  A second bottom line, parallel to the first, measuring the social profit.

Admittedly, this is harder to measure.  Man became obsessed with cash only because it is so easy to count.  It is linear.  The second bottom line is multivariate, swaying from side to side, lurching upwards at times and falling freely at others.  Kicking and screaming, it struggles to break free from our traditional ideas about gains and losses.  It thrives in democratic debate, feeding off the individual moral and ethical codes of free thinkers.  The Benevolent Baron though has faith that the great equalizer that is the market can pin it down and chart it out.  We can redefine the bottom line.

Are you a Benevolent Baron?

Posted on August 7th 2008 in ideas

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