It’s time for a Corporate Spring – AlterNet – Salon.com

23 May

Our economy is dominated by a monoculture business model, Kelly says, driven largely by publicly traded corporations that have built in pressure from Wall Street for maximum short-term earnings. But a healthy, living economy needs biodiversity. We can find this if we begin to look around — across the U.S. and the world — where there are businesses designed not for maximum profit, but with a mission-driven social and economic architecture. One of these models is the “social enterprise.”

The Social Enterprise Alliance defines these organizations as “businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas.” And one of the defining characteristics is that “The common good is its primary purpose, literally ‘baked into’ the organization’s DNA, and trumping all others.”

Here’s an example. Remember Working Assets? Starting out as a progressive-minded credit card company in the ’80s, it added phone service — first long-distance in the ’90s, then cellular in 2000 — and now it has created the subsidiary CREDO Mobile. The company operates as a for-profit business, which is privately owned, with most of the employees owning the stock, so it doesn’t have to bow to Wall Street pressures. They use their profits to help support causes they believe in — so far the amount of money donated is $70 million and counting.

via It’s time for a Corporate Spring – AlterNet – Salon.com.

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