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Sir Richard Branson at Davos

Well it’s Davos time again and I’m reminded of what happened 4 years ago. when Sir Richard Branson spoke at the Davos Ukrainian Lunch, aka the Davos Philanthropic forum . Here’s what he said to world leaders:

“Capitalism is the only economic system that really works”, he underlined, saying that the downside of the capitalist system is accumulation of great wealth in hands of relatively small number of people. “Not all of these people use their assets to create new jobs and new opportunities.” Branson stated.

This is precisely why social role of business, as said by Richard Branson, is so important in modern world. “A modern company should focus not only on making money, but also on solving social problems and investing in protection of environment.”

We all know Richard Branson uses the internet. To illustrate the impact of radical transparency, here’s what we made very public two years ealier by publishing a stategy paper in an online magazine. It was described as a 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine and had the primary focus of placing institutionalised children in loving family homes

“An inherent assumption about capitalism is that profit is defined only in terms of monetary gain. This assumption is virtually unquestioned in most of the world. However, it is not a valid assumption. Business enterprise, capitalism, must be measured in terms of monetary profit. That rule is not arguable. A business enterprise must make monetary profit, or it will merely cease to exist. That is an absolute requirement. But it does not follow that this must necessarily be the final bottom line and the sole aim of the enterprise. How this profit is used is another question. It is commonly assumed that profit will enrich enterprise owners and investors, which in turn gives them incentive to participate financially in the enterprise to start with.

That, however, is not the only possible outcome for use of profits. Profits can be directly applied to help resolve a broad range of social problems: poverty relief, improving childcare, seeding scientific research for nationwide economic advancement, improving communications infrastructure and accessibility, for examples – the target objectives of this particular project plan. The same financial discipline required of any conventional for-profit business can be applied to projects with the primary aim of improving socioeconomic conditions. Profitability provides money needed to be self-sustaining for the purpose of achieving social and economic objectives such as benefit of a nation’s poorest, neediest people. In which case, the enterprise is a social enterprise.”

I followed this up with Virgin Unite introducing our work and offered to lead the way with their help in Ukraine. That ended the conversation.

But then: