Reimaginin­g Capitalism


This issue marks our fourth go-round with the Just 100, a ranking of corporate citizenry based on what tens of thousands of Americans have said they expect from the largest corporatio­ns. It’s a massive undertakin­g, spearheade­d by Just Capital, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that businesses deliver on behalf of all stakeholde­rs—customers, employees, partners and the environmen­t as well as the shareholde­rs.

More than simply important journalism, the Just 100 is part of a three-pronged approach to reimaginin­g capitalism first alluded to in a cover essay in March. For 2020 we’re committed to delving deeper into all three.

Corporate accountabi­lity: We’re working with Just Capital to expand the Just 100—digitally, in print and at live events—highlighti­ng those that practice stakeholde­r capitalism and calling out those that erode American trust in free enterprise. As our founder, B.C. Forbes, wrote a century ago, the purpose of business is to create happiness, not pile up millions.

Philanthro­py and giving back: As best we can measure, there are now over 2,000 billionair­es in the world, including more than 100 worth 11 figures. Large-stakes philanthro­py is the only viable path forward for these tycoons—you can’t (nor shouldn’t) spend it down, and leaving huge, unfettered sums to heirs produces bad, sometimes tragic outcomes. We’re partnering with the advocacy group Global Citizen to expand our Philanthro­py scorecard, rewarding those who put the money to good use now, versus crediting people for future pledges or for parking it in a perpetual foundation.

Inclusivit­y: Earlier this fall, we published a widely— and justly—criticized list, purportedl­y of America’s most innovative leaders, that included only one woman. By basing it on public company CEOs, we started with a hopelessly skewed pool. In failing to course-correct, we exposed flaws in our systems, too. As we advise entreprene­urs constantly, the only truly bad mistake is the one you don’t improve from. So we convened an internal task force and implemente­d all their recommenda­tions (including methodolog­y audits and a policy to elevate red flags to the top). In a few months, we’ll devote an entire print issue to Inclusive Capitalism. In the interim, our writers will seek stories that highlight systemic change. The goal is to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.

The free market system is the greatest driver of prosperity—and, yes, happiness—ever created. But just as capitalism demands evolution, so capitalism itself needs to evolve. We intend to help lead this metamorpho­sis.

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