To create more jobs, we should revise corporate fiduciary duties

In previous posts, I noted the fact that big companies have a ton of cash right now. So, when people complain about not having jobs, rather than blaming it on the government, shouldn't they be looking to the companies with the money? Don't know what that's not occurring to people.

So, consider that it's our free market system that's not creating jobs, even when there's plenty of money, when the financial and many other sectors have already recovered. Wouldn't we want our capitalistic economy to deliver jobs when we need them? We know companies are squeezing more productivity out of fewer people to drive profits. Everyone is being effected by this. So, why isn't there some sort of market 'brain' that knows to do the right thing for the people?

Well, the fact is our marvelous free market system has no conscience. It only reacts to profits and losses. It's based on scarcity, the old supply and demand curves we learned about in college (the fear of not having enough at the right price). And a significant part of the problem is that of perspective; what individuals want - profits - is not necessarily what society as a whole needs - currently, jobs. Why?

This concept was discussed in a review of a book entitled Chasing Goldman Sachs by Suzanne McGee in the Washington Post on August 1, 2010. The reviewer James Ledbetter said: "The drive to maximize profits to shareholders, to improve the return on equity ... led Wall Street firms into all sorts of behavior that separated their best interests from society's."

So, the individual profit seeking interest is perceived to be separate from the best interests of society. If you've followed any of my writings or previous blogs, you know that I define fear as "the perception of separation." Fear is opposite of oneness, i.e., the ultimate interdependence. If we all truly understood that we're all in it together, riding on this blue projectile through space as one, then we wouldn't be dragged down by fear, that is, the perception that our interests are separate. Steven Pearlstein said this in an article in the Washington Post entitled Why sharing the wealth isn't enough: "Whether at an individual company or in the country at large, it is the feeling that we are all in it together that creates the basis for a truly vibrant economy and just society"

Our interests may seem separate; we may seem separate; but from the big picture out there in space, humans on earth are just like the billions of bacteria in a person's body - just part of the same thing moving around. And our galaxy, the Milky way, is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies. (There's some perspective for ya!)

Bringing this back to the topic, the fear based conduct of the big companies is not consistent with the interrelatedness that is our truth. They don't see that spending money to hire people and increase confidence, thereby raising all boats, is in everyone's best interests, including their own! Their perspective is not of the big picture; they only see the fear of losing money or not having enough.

It's not all their fault, however. The legal system mandates they do this. From the Post article, "Some of the system's weakness reflects human nature, but much of it, McGee concludes, is built into the fiduciary duty of public companies." That is, the fiduciary duties of directors to increase profits for shareholders as opposed to doing good for society legally prevents the companies from doing good as a primary goal. Their perspective is increase profits, rather than increase good. What's needed then, is to ultimately change the fiduciary duties of directors to include the duty to benefit society. There are many people beginning to speak about this, for example, Bill Gates and me. We've got our work cut out for us, but like I say, it's just about changing minds. I change my mind all the time. So do you. And so does society; just think about TV shows or music, not to mention sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

And the best way to change our minds is away from perceiving separateness to recognizing our interdependence, our oneness.

Originally posted on Tumblr