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The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified global key issues of inequality, climate change and political instability. Post-pandemic, will everything go back to “normal” or will we see fundamental shifts in the way business is done? In this virtual briefing, Rebecca Henderson, Author of Reimagining Capitalism speaks with WIRED Editor-in-Chief, Greg Williams to discuss how we can develop models that deliver strong economic growth that ensures prosperity and wellbeing for human beings while also protecting and nurturing the planet.
Free market capitalism is one of humanity’s greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. At the same time, its single-minded pursuit of profit has led to widespread inequality and the looming threat of climate catastrophe.
For some, the shock of COVID-19 to the global economy is seen as an opportunity for businesses to simultaneously confront the reality of the environmental crisis and at the same time address the social and economic inequality. We are currently seeing an ideological shift for business transformation. Businesses are realising that the importance of empowering employees to do their jobs will lead to increased productivity, creativity and innovation.
The need to be more accountable for addressing the climate crisis is also becoming recognised. “There’s a lot of talk about ESG (Environmental and social governance) measures, but it will take a while to get these in place,” says Rebecca. “It took us 100 years to put financial accounting in place.”
“We need to think of ourselves as an integrated world where we can’t escape. We have a joint destiny. Hopefully, the pandemic will begin to make us think about global co-operation in a different way.” – Rebecca Henderson
Recorded on May 4, 2020
About Rebecca Henderson
Rebecca Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University and teaches the Reimagining Capitalism course at Harvard Business School. She is a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and is a member of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Henderson is an advisor to some of the world’s leading companies and a board member of Amgen and IDEXX Laboratories. The Financial Times recently named her a Director of The Year. She has also just released her book, Reimagining Capitalism: How Businesses Can Save The World.
Reimagining Capitalism is a thought-provoking analysis on the ways in which business can have a positive impact on the global problems that we face as a result of 50 years of capitalism.
About WIRED Virtual Briefings
Designed as an extension of WIRED’s long-running live conference portfolio, WIRED virtual briefings are punchy, deliberate and engaging sessions that reflect the same high calibre of speakers and programming featured at a WIRED event. This briefing is part of the WIRED Foresight series, curated by Greg Williams, Editor of WIRED.