Have the Anticapitalists Reached Harvard Business School? - The New York Times, Nov. 28, 2022
ioi_ab's bookmarks 2022-11-28
"At Harvard Business School, inside a seminar room with a smattering of button-down shirts and puffy fall jackets, a group of future corporate managers were talking about capitalism. What makes capitalism truly and purely capitalism? What are its essential components? Property rights. Financial markets.
“Maybe this is almost so foundational that it’s too much to put on the board — but scarcity?” said Andrew Gibbs, 32, a second-year student who came to Harvard by way of the military. “Would it be capitalism if people were comfortable?”
Prof. Debora Spar, who teaches the widely sought-after course “Capitalism and the State,” turned to Mr. Gibbs with the eye glimmer of an instructor who knows the conversation is about to get heated. “Would you go so far as to say a necessary condition for capitalism is scarcity, which is going to drive inequality?”
Mr. Gibbs paused, contemplating. “I would say so.”
On the blackboard it went: Capitalism. Scarcity. Inequality.
Every year, some 250,000 young people step off the treadmill of their jobs, many in consulting and private equity, to chase skills and credentials that will turbocharge their future roles in consulting and private equity — by going to business school. They study accounting and negotiation. They learn about D.C.F.s (discounted cash flows) and the three C’s (company, customers and competitors). They emerge with the ability to at least feign intimate knowledge of the godfather of shareholder primacy, referred to in one classroom as “our buddy Milton Friedman.”
But today’s business school students are also learning about corporate social obligations and how to rethink capitalism, a curriculum shift at elite institutions that reflects a change in corporate culture as a whole. Political leaders on the left and right are calling for business leaders to reconsider their societal responsibilities. On the left, they argue that business needs to play some role in confronting daunting global threats — a warming planet, fragile democracy. On the right, they chastise executives for distracting from profits by talking politics...."