image by Julia Revitt

The Rise Of Conscious Capitalism

Why Capitalism Is Not The Problem

I love an interview the rapper J Cole did with Angie Martinez on Power 105.1, for various reasons. While promoting his album ‘Forest Hills Drive’, 11 minutes into the interview, the rapper addresses the link between slavery and economics.

The way the world system is structured, a lot of people are slaves, but to things like debt. The masters are mostly the institutions and companies that give out the loans, and the people that suffer the most are the public, especially the middle class.

J Cole makes the observation that the only difference is slaves did not get paid with money, they had maybe leftovers from the master, and some poor shelter and clothing.

People are struggling to keep up with the joneses, and because basic needs are not being met, people get distracted from the things that really matter. Wealth inequality is a growing issue.

The only difference is I disagree that capitalism is the problem, the same way technology or money is not the problem, but a tool that can be used for good or bad, we make it what it is. Capitalism has brought about plenty of good.

Yes, capitalism to some degree benefits business people that are motivated by the desire to prosper financially. But, that is not always the only motivation, not every business person is corrupt.

It does not have to be a game where, “if they win, I lose.”

Business people should seek to build products and services that actually add value to people, and in return they are rewarded. That is a principle of life, we reap what we sow.

If Bill Gates is helping people all around the world to do things much better, and easier, with his computers, he deserves to be rewarded for that value. The more people he helps, the more he gets rewarded.

You cannot expect more than what you put out, and if you can reach the masses with your value, you have increased your potential for economic gains. Bill Gates benefits, but so do the individuals that buy his products.

There has to be a balance, you can be socially responsible and still make profit. This is called conscious capitalism. More people should start to see business as a tool for solving problems, and making money should be the bonus, not the main objective.

Corporate Social Responsibility has been a huge focus for major companies because they are starting to see that companies that better society end up making more money. There have been studies done that show this correlation.

The rise and success of social enterprises like Toms Shoes, have encouraged various other companies in their direction. Tom’s is unique because for every shoe brought somebody in the developing world gets their first shoe.

It becomes a strong unique selling point, and is a brand that resonates with the values of its customers.

I think a social enterprise is a good concept, but all businesses have some sort of obligation to help those they serve for social good. Business people are, first, obliged to take care of their employees. They have a huge responsibility, the decisions made can impact the lives and families of those that work for them.

If more business people have this sense of obligation, do good for the right reasons, and become advocates for putting the best interest of those they serve first, we will see a revolution in capitalism.

The people who support businesses really have the power. They can choose who to do business with or not. It takes both the communities impacted by businesses, and business people to agree on changes that will help solve real world problems.

Every business person is in some way responsible for those they serve, whether employees, or the immediate communities and areas they target. Also, the public are responsible for what they do with their resources, who they hold accountable, or choose to keep in business.

We cannot just point fingers at any specific class or group of people, whether “the powers that be”, or the sheeple who just follow blindly, we all have a part to play in building the conditions we want to see.

We cannot just offload these things for the Government or anybody to sort things out. It all starts with us and the things that are in our immediate control.

Now, what are we doing with this responsibility?

You can check out what the rapper says below, and specifically from 11:00–13:47 into the interview.

A very refreshing and thought provoking interview.

Feel free to ‘recommend’ this post, and share if you think that others may benefit from reading it. You can also give me a shout on twitter, I promise not to bite:@LesliePoku

Dream Nation is a project I am part of which aims to support the idea of conscious capitalism, and to equip practical dreamers around the world. Find out more here: