WEF Davos : Capitalism and Democracy try to find balance through CSR

The World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos has in past years been among the most powerful B2B, B2G and G2G networking meets in the world. More effective than the United Nations, according to some.

This year (2012) there seems to be a marked and discernible change in this gathering’s tone and tenor. Leaders of both Governments and Businesses seem to realize that becoming  richer and richer is probably not enough. This realization as capitalism,democracy and affluence rises worldwide , 1 billion more global middle class by 2020 according to Muhtar Kent of Coca Cola ( see accompanying video). Here is some interesting stuff to think about from happenings at Davos in 2012:

  • Just as democracy rises worldwide from Burma to the Arab world and the Euro zone mess continues, the occupy movement has showed up in igloos at Davos. They are the challenge to  the excesses of capitalism from the developed west which now has its very own bottom of the pyramid (BOP) folks who survive on food stamps and live out of a car.  The Western BOP are far  better off though, than the BOP of the world seen in aggregate, who tend to die of hunger,famine or just oppression in non-democratic societies. People would never die of famine in democracies though, as Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen pointed out. That’s because, elected politicians irrespective of caste,creed or color tend to ensure that the bottom of the pyramid’s life improves, because that’s where the votes are!
  • But it is those at the top of the pyramid who realize that in a global world – the most disenfranchised protester in the most draconian of states can put out their voice on Twitter or Facebook. Thus, Bill Gates urges Governments and Corporates to step up philanthropy to the world’s bottom of the pyramid.  Because doing so serves five  purposes:
  1. It’s good karma !
  2. Your aid or philanthropy reaches more beneficiaries because of lower costs in the poorer parts of the world. More bang for the charitable buck.
  3. When people have basic food,clothing and shelter they are less likely terrorist recruits and  next demand electricity,water and roads, education and health ….. and jobs.
  4. With the above get better skills,earn more and generate  personal consumer demand.
  5. Help the overall global economy as richer consumers. This helps sustain jobs of new kinds in the developed world.

Hopefully the 2012 World Economic Forum will see a surge in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate philanthropy worldwide.

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