Stakeholder Capitalism: Using Markets to Drive Social Progress1

Capitalism has gotten a bad rap lately, blamed for poverty, inequality, and greed. In reality, open & dynamic markets are responsible for upward mobility, social progress, and increased charitable giving. Prosperity Utah’s stakeholder capitalism initiative aims to reframe the general public’s understanding of capitalism while urging our state’s largest companies to prioritize employee and community interests on par with those of shareholders in their decision making. From increasing employee stock options to pursuing environmentally friendly policies, we can address the criticisms of capitalism and make our case stronger than ever. Through events, educational videos, and more, Prosperity Utah is changing the debate and helping more people understand the benefits of free markets and entrepreneurship.

The Problem

Capitalism is not cool. Many Americans, particularly of the younger generation, believe that capitalism only serves the interests of the 1% through the exploitation of the environment and labor. Yet many who have this perception also believe in entrepreneurship and want to be business owners themselves someday. This is a serious disconnect in the minds of many Americans and it is one that needs to be corrected. This view is growing among active voters and will result in more anti-capitalist policies that diminish quality of life and slow progress unless we act now to combat it.

 

Our goal is to cast a vision of a market system that works for everyone. One that spurs new discoveries, creates technology that helps human-kind, advances science, and moves society forward for all races, classes, and peoples. We want a capitalism that gives everyone a stake in the market economy, not simply wages, and allows more people to build generational wealth, relieve the stress of financial hardship, and live more fulfilling lives. These are the benefits of capitalism. It is our job to make them accessible to everyone.

The Solution

Prosperity Utah plans to achieve these goals through the following steps:

 

#1: Create and publicize an annual report ranking Utah’s top companies on key metrics

 

What is measured and reported improves rapidly. We think it is important to track and report how well our top companies are implementing stakeholder capitalism. This report will analyze employee stock options and other key metrics to give companies a baseline from which they can improve their operations. This annual report will be widely covered in the media each year it is released and soon become a standard by which companies judge their success. This report will be one of a kind and unique to Utah yet has the potential to be taken nationally and even globally.

 

#2 Host educational events for business leaders to implement stakeholder capitalism

 

With our help, companies will become familiar with and see the benefits to their bottom line of effectively implementing stakeholder capitalism. Prosperity Utah will develop a curriculum and training for business executives to really understand why we need stakeholder capitalism and what they can do about it. Prosperity Utah will actively work with business leaders to implement these concepts and help companies improve their rankings on our annual stakeholder capitalism report.

 

#3 Launch a media campaign to shift public opinion in support of free markets

Our goal is not just to help companies implement stakeholder capitalism, but to persuade new audiences of the benefits of capitalism. Through videos, written pieces, events, and a targeted social media and earned media campaign, Prosperity Utah will employ unique and non-traditional messaging to build support for free markets among audiences that are skeptical or even hostile to capitalism. We know that markets move society forward, create wealth, and tackle poverty. We must shift public opinion so that the masses understand this as well and firmly support capitalism and free markets.

 

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