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CORPORATION 2020

Transforming Business for Tomorrow's World

Corp2020: The right way of doing business

Corporation 2020 is a movement that calls for new ways for corporations to operate. The legal status and business persona of today’s corporation are almost a hundred years old. We call it Corporation 1920. It has had its day.

Corporation 2020 is the firm of the future. It produces positive benefits for society as a whole, rather than just its shareholders. It encourages positive social interactions among workers, management, customers, neighbors, and other stakeholders. It is a responsible steward of natural resources. It invests in the productivity of its workers through training and education. It strives to produce a surplus of all types of capital, including financial, natural, human capital.

Four characteristics of Corporation 2020:

  • Goal Alignment: As Henry Ford said, “a business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”
  • Community: The communities that evolve within corporations are an important form of “social capital.”
  • Institute: By investing in “human capital”, a business can be extremely profitable while producing a large public benefit.
  • Capital Factory: Corporations must create financial capital through their operations, but without depleting other forms of capital.

We need Corporation 2020 now. The firm of the future must become the firm of today. The planet may be able to wait a decade, but it can certainly not wait until 2050 or 2100. In order to get to a green economy, we must change the way that the economy’s primary agent - the corporation - does business. There are four clear mechanisms to get us there: disclosing corporate externalities, putting taxes on resource extraction, enacting limits to financial leverage, and making advertising accountable.

Change must come from both within companies and through external stimuli from regulators and civil society. Based on the CEO reactions we have received, it is clearly a myth that business will always be against any regulation. Watch our interviews with various CEOs to see the positive reaction to the ideas of Corporation 2020.

Corp1920: The old way of doing business

Corporation 1920 is the corporation of the past, but unfortunately it remains the dominant economic agent of today. It is essentially a “cost-externalizer.” It hides the externalities of its production and supply chain. It views natural resources solely as consumable inputs, without regard for sustainable extraction, thus limiting future availability. It does not fully utilize its workers’ productivity, by failing to invest in them; on the contrary, it invests primarily in private, financial capital, at the expense of other valuable investment opportunities.

The four primary characteristics of Corporation 1920: 

  • Size: The growth in size of corporations has significantly outstripped the growth of the economy as a whole.
  • Leverage: Financial leverage has fuelled the last four global economic crises.
  • Advertising: The power of advertising to drive growth is second to none, but ad agencies generally don’t take a stand on ethics.
  • Lobbying: Lobbying has eroded democracy in capital cities around the world.

How do we change this system?

Our four planks of change:

Incorporating Externalities: All major corporate externalities (both positive and negative) must be measured and reported as disclosures in the annual financial statements of companies.

Resource Taxation: Taxes and subsidies have to be transformed to tax the “bads” (such as resource extraction and fossil fuel use), and support the “goods” (such as wages and profits) rather than the other way around.

Limiting Leverage: Accountancy bodies and financial regulators must introduce rules and limits to govern financial leverage, especially if the borrower is considered “too big to fail”.

Accountable Advertising: Advertising norms and standards must be introduced so that advertising is responsible and accountable.

The Team

The Campaign

Maitri Kumar: Advisor & Board Member, Corporation 2020

Winnie Toppo: Campaign Manager

Sarah Franko: Campaign Manager

Meenakshi Menon: Advisor & Board Member, Corporation 2020

 

The Book

Sanjeev Sanyal: Economics

Namrata Kala: Externalities

Bryant Cannon: Legal History

Alisa May: Art and Design

Kevin Kromash: Program Manager

Meenakshi Menon: Advertising

John D'Agostino: Post-War History

Brian Marrs: Resource Taxation

Rafael Torres: Leverage

Joseph Edgar: Lobbying

Michael Marks: Media Coordinator