【英语财经】资本主义不能只重财务回报 Capitalism thrives by looking past the bottom line

  • 【英语财经】资本主义不能只重财务回报 Capitalism thrives by looking past the bottom line已关闭评论
  • A+
所属分类:双语财经

2014-5-30 06:42

小艾摘要: It is no coincidence that the jargon of capitalism borrows so heavily from the language of human relationships: think equity, credit, trust, share, bond and fair value. Capitalism is an extension of t ...
Capitalism thrives by looking past the bottom line
It is no coincidence that the jargon of capitalism borrows so heavily from the language of human relationships: think equity, credit, trust, share, bond and fair value. Capitalism is an extension of these basic human aspirations, and has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity.

Yet faith in market institutions has rarely been lower. This is not without reason. Markets mostly encourage a near maniacal focus on short-term financial results, tolerance of disparities of opportunity, and an apparent disregard for the common good. If these tendencies are left unchecked, the public cannot be expected to show faith in capitalism.

Polls show a correlation between public confidence in the system and broad-based income growth. In the 1990s, middle-class US household incomes improved by 14 per cent in real terms, according to official data. In the same decade, opinion polls show, the proportion of people who believed the US was moving in the right direction went from 28 per cent to 51 per cent. But between 2000 and 2012, the average income of this group declined by more than 8 per cent; not surprisingly, the number who believed their children would be better off than they were fell from 71 per cent in 2000 to 15 per cent in 2013.

Disillusioned by the market, voters increasingly demand politicians rein in finance and corporations. In a poll by Populus and the Financial Times , 61 per cent of Britons said they would vote for whichever party is tougher on big business. The mayor of New York was elected on an agenda of being tough on companies and the rich. Although it is not the business of business to solve society’s problems, it is dangerous when business itself is viewed as the problem. To reverse this belief and end the political backlash, it must actively address its failure to deliver for the common good.

This is a tough task requiring leadership and co-operation between businesses, philanthropies, individuals and governments. It will mean investments must be measured not just by short-term returns but by the development of human capital, management of innovative potential, compensation aligned with true value creation, supply chains that are sustainable and measurable evidence of the overall contribution of the enterprise to society.

Businesses are beginning to make a difference. Since abandoning quarterly profit reporting five years ago, Unilever has publicly stated its long-term strategy and adopted plans to expand the consumer goods group while shrinking its environmental footprint. The Tata industrial group has long prioritised its responsibility to communities in India where it invests in schools, hospitals and research institutions. In the US, businesses such as Costco and the Container Store pay workers far more than the legal minimum wage.

These steps can provide financial returns. Higher wages cut employee turnover, sustainable supply chains are?likely?to cut costs in?the long run, and community-conscious firms are increasingly attractive to the skilled workers and devoted customers businesses covet. But their most important contribution is to reinforce the consensus that capitalism can be relied upon as an engine of progress and a source of optimism.

It is not, however, fair to expect chief executives to shoulder all the responsibility for making capitalism more inclusive. Corporate behaviour will not change without a critical mass of investors and customers who demand long-term thinking and higher ethical standards.

This is starting to happen. Norway’s nearly $800bn sovereign wealth fund has appointed a committee to advise on both rethinking its investment strategy and principles to improve returns and become more socially responsible. A broader move to reorganise fund management structures and adjust management incentives could drive enormous change. However, no chief executive, asset manager or institutional investor can improve the system alone, so it is vital that key players demonstrate that they manage and invest in a way that expands the benefits of capitalism.

The writer is chief executive of EL Rothschild, and founder and co-host of the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism 2014

资本领域的行话借用如此多的人际关系术语绝不是巧合,比如股权、信用、信托、股份、债券和公允价值。资本主义是以上人类基本愿望的延伸,并曾引导世界经济达到前所未有的繁荣。

然而,人们对市场机制的信任很少比现在更低。这并非没有原因。在多数情况下,市场鼓励人们对短期财务回报的近乎疯狂的关注,容忍机会不均等现象,而且显然漠视公共利益。如果上述倾向得不到遏制,就不能指望公众会表现出对资本主义的信心。

民调显示,公众对制度的信心与普遍收入增长之间存在相关性。官方数据显示,上世纪90年代美国中产家庭收入扣除物价上涨因素后增长了14%。而同一时期的民调显示,相信美国正走在正确方向上的人所占比例从28%提高至51%。然而在2000年到2012年期间,这一群体的平均收入下跌了逾8%。毫无意外地,相信子女境遇将好过自己的人所占比例从2000年的71%减少至2013年的15%。

由于对市场的幻想破灭,越来越多的选民要求政界约束金融业和企业。在Populus和英国《金融时报》开展的一次民意测验中,61%的英国人表示他们将会把选票投给任何一个对大企业更为严厉的政党。纽约市长之所以会当选,也是由于他提出了将严厉对待企业和富人的施政计划。尽管解决社会问题并不是企业的事,但当企业本身被视为问题,企业就危险了。要逆转这种观念并终结其在政治上导致的反弹,企业必须主动解决未能服务公共利益的问题。

这是一个十分艰巨的任务,它不但要求有很高的领导力,还要求企业、慈善机构、个人和政府之间通力合作。它意味着投资不能仅仅以短期回报为评判的依据,还要考虑人力资本的开发、创新潜力的管理、与真正的价值创造相匹配的薪酬、可持续发展的供应链条以及企业对社会总体贡献的可测量证据。

目前,企业正在做出改变。自五年前取消季度盈利报告以来,消费品集团联合利华(Unilever)公开阐述了长期战略,并采纳了多项计划,以便在集团扩张的同时减少对环境的影响。长期以来,工业集团塔塔(Tata)始终把对印度社会的责任置于优先,在印度投资了学校、医院和研究机构。在美国,好市多(Costco)和货柜商店(Container Store)这类企业支付给员工的薪水远远高于法定最低工资。

以上举措也能产生财务上的回报。更高的薪水降低了人员流动率,稳定持续的供应链在长期很可能降低成本,具有社区意识的企业更能吸引急需的高技能员工和忠实客户。不过,这些举措最重要的贡献在于,它们会加强人们的共识:资本主义是可以信赖的进步引擎和乐观之源。

不过,指望首席执行官们背负令资本主义更具包容性的所有责任,也不够公平。如果要求企业从长远着眼及提高道德标准的投资者和客户达不到一定数量,企业的行为将不会改变。

这样的要求正在出现。规模近8000亿美元的挪威主权财富基金已成立了一个委员会,负责就两方面提出建议,一是对投资战略的反思,一是关于提升回报率和承担更多社会责任的原则。如果采取更广泛的举措,重组资金管理机制,调整管理层激励政策,那将会产生十分巨大的变化。然而,没有哪位首席执行官、资产管理人或机构投资者能单独改变整个体制。因此,至关重要的一点是,重要的企业机构一起向人们展示,它们在以一种能扩大资本主义好处惠及范围的方式开展管理和投资。

本文作者是EL Rothschild首席执行官、2014年包容性资本主义大会(Conference on Inclusive Capitalism)的创始人和共同主持人。

译者/简易

本文关键字:财经英语,小艾英语,双语网站,财经双语,财经资讯,互联网新闻,ERWAS,行业解析,创业指导,营销策略,英语学习,可以双语阅读的网站!
  • 我的微信
  • 这是我的微信扫一扫
  • weinxin
  • 我的微信公众号
  • 我的微信公众号扫一扫
  • weinxin