From The Gates Foundation memo:
“1. Businesses can seek more effective ways to use existing market incentives—such as profit or recognition—to reduce inequities and serve the poor.
2. Governments, nonprofits, and philanthropies can use their resources and expertise to create new market incentives for businesses to reduce inequities and serve the poor.”
Living in Seattle, I experience this kind of thinking daily. Some how, some way, businesses have a moral obligation (not religiously moral mind you, that’s bad and our vague anti-religious, secular moral aims are good) to direct their endeavors to the poor and unfortunate.
Regardless of whether or not you agree, of course, this gentle moral guidance will be overseen by some other entity.
It should be pointed out that Gates and Microsoft were not likely happy during the U.S. Goverment’s Anti-Trust (wikipedia) case against them. Why his foundation is advocating a similar invitation to meddling is a little baffling.
Wolf’s post in response points out:
“Americans are so used to a society in which the profit motive is constrained by — and embedded in — other norms and institutions…”
Of course. Attempting to applying the profit motive to everybody and everything is kind of a set-up to merge “capitalism” with all those members of the discontented left…which could be a pretty Seattlite type of thing to do.