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Why I wrote ‘Tomorrow’s Capitalist,’ my upcoming book on the stakeholder capitalism movement

February 17, 2022, 11:53 AM UTC

Good morning.

Some news of my own this morning—I have a book coming out May 10 that chronicles my efforts over the past decade to understand what’s driving the new social consciousness of business. The title is Tomorrow’s Capitalist: My Search for the Soul of Business, and it is based on literally hundreds of interviews with business leaders at the forefront of the stakeholder capitalism movement.  

As I wrote yesterday, there are plenty of skeptics who argue stakeholder capitalism is a sham—or worse, that it’s a misguided effort by “woke” CEOs to appease the political left. As a lifelong journalist, I appreciate such skepticism. And I can certainly point to instances that support their arguments.

But I wrote this book because I became convinced something bigger is going on. Some of it is generational—new workers, customers, investors demanding more of companies. Some of it is structural—technology elevating the importance of human capital and increasing the transparency of corporate actions. Some of it is a reaction to political failure—CEOs feeling forced to take on problems they once thought governments would solve. But the forces driving it aren’t going away—they are only intensifying.

This new approach to business leadership is not universal, it’s not a panacea, it’s not a replacement for effective government, and it’s certainly not the end of greed and corporate malfeasance. But I have spent too many hours in too many conversations with too many leaders who have either helped build or been bowed by the forces of this movement to deny its existence. Business is changing…and I think it is a change for the better.

You can preorder the book, starting today, here. All profits go to Fortune. And a note of thanks to my coauthor, Catherine Whitney, who has now read every CEO Daily essay, listened to every Leadership Next podcast, watched untold hours of my videotaped interviews—and has no doubt grown weary of me in the process. I hope you’ll agree, for both our sakes, that it’s a story worth telling.

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Russia and Ukraine

Estonian intelligence now has the number of Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border at around 170,000, with more on the way, and the White House says Russian claims that it is drawing back troops are “false.” NATO also says it hasn’t seen signs of withdrawal or de-escalation. Meanwhile, both the Ukrainian and Russian-backed–separatist sides in civil-war–struck eastern Ukraine are accusing each other of shelling attacks today—the sort of thing Putin might seize upon as an excuse for invasion. Fortune

Amazon and Visa

Amazon and Visa have struck a truce over credit card fees, meaning U.K. customers will get to keep using Visa cards to buy stuff on Amazon. The e-commerce platform is also dropping a 0.5% surcharge it’s been levying on Visa credit card transactions in Australia and Singapore. Fortune

JPMorganverse

JPMorgan Chase has become the first bank to open a branch in the “metaverse,” specifically the Decentraland virtual world. Visitors to the platform’s Metajuku mall will be able to visit a JPMorgan lounge featuring a portrait of Jamie Dimon, and a roaming tiger (sadly not a portrait of the two together). Fortune

Ericsson and ISIS

The Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson has admitted it may have paid ISIS terrorists in Iraq, to ensure they could use transport routes that would evade customs. This latest bit of corruption news—it paid over $1 billion to settle U.S. probes in 2019, regarding its business practices in China, Vietnam, and elsewhere—knocked Ericsson’s share price by 14%. Financial Times

COVID scars

New data from a large U.S. study suggests people who recover from COVID are at high risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression—and more so if they had to be hospitalized. Study coauthor Ziyad Al-Aly: “[COVID] really produces a myriad of abnormalities that will stick with people for a lifetime and have really long-term ramifications on their ability to rejoin the workforce.” Fortune

AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

“Venereal disease”

Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger is still no fan of Bitcoin: “I certainly didn’t invest in crypto. I’m proud of the fact I’ve avoided it. It’s like a venereal disease or something. I just regard it as beneath contempt.” Which didn’t stop Berkshire Hathaway from investing $1 billion into crypto-friendly Brazilian bank Nubank, though. (Bonus read: Fortune’s Anne Sraders on Starkiller Capital’s interest in tokens that aren’t Bitcoin or Ethereum.) Fortune

Mask guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering easing its mask guidance, as the recent Omicron-fueled infection wave continues to drop precipitously. CDC director Rochelle Walensky: “We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing, when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen.” Fortune

Golden visas

The U.K. seems set to scrap its “golden visa” scheme, which allows rich people to gain residency if they spend at least £2 million ($2.72 million). It’s always been a heavily criticized scheme, but its widespread use by Russia’s elite makes it a really bad look right now. BBC

Wealth effect

Fortune’s Shawn Tully writes about the “wealth effect” that is partly fueling inflation: “The well-to-do, hugely compensated Americans contributing greatly to soaring prices is the class least damaged by rampant inflation. So far, higher prices don’t seem to bother them and have done nothing to curb their record shopping spree.” Fortune

Top table

Vladimir Putin has a habit of meeting unfriendly counterparts across impossibly long tables (partly owing to their refusal to take a Kremlin PCR test, for fear of handing over their DNA). Now some furniture makers in Spain and Italy are arguing about which one made the big white table at which the Russian president recently spoke to France’s Emmanuel Macron. Guardian

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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