Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget kicked off IGNITION 2018 on Monday with remarks on the role of businesses and shareholders in our current economy.
His presentation, titled “It’s Time for Better Capitalism,” laid out the idea that businesses need to take into account more than just their shareholders, who are the economic elite. To better benefit the economy, Blodget said, we need to create “better capitalism,” which means creating value for shareholders, yes, but also the employees who work at the company, its customers, and society as a whole.
Check on the top takeaways from Blodget’s keynote presentation:
- Businesses are often defined by making money for their shareholders, but Blodget says there’s a better way to define the role of businesses: “to create value for shareholders, employees, customers, and society.”
- Blodget presented the idea of “shareholder capitalism” in our economy, where only the shareholders at the top percentage are getting the majority of benefits and gains from the system.
- Blodget criticized the idea of a “trickle down” economy. The trickle down of investment and gains is truly a very slow “trickle,” which Blodget says results in an economy that doesn’t work for everyone.
- Job creation comes not just from employers, but from customers, too, Blodget said. Using Business Insider as an example, Blodget said that the publication is able to hire and sustain its growth because of Prime subscriptions, advertisers, and readership.
- “Shareholder capitalism” has been our economic model for decades now, Blodget says. “Forty years of shareholder capitalism has made us a country of overlords and serfs.”
- There’s an “extraordinary array of high-quality products we have available to us now,” but consumers are struggling to make the money required to actually purchase them, Blodget says.
- He applauded recent moves by companies like Amazon and cities like Seattle for raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour. Blodget presented data that 40% of jobs pay less than $15 an hour, but insisted we need to raise wages if we want consumers to take part in creating a better economy.
- The solution to our economic issues is “better capitalism,” Blodget says. He cited BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who has called on companies to “make a position contribution to society.”
See who’s speaking now — check out the livestream of Business Insider’s IGNITION 2018: