Big Business Changes Their Tune

CEO generic business stock photo

(gorodenkoff/Getty Images)

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Since 1997, the Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs, has publicly endorsed the idea that corporations exist mainly to profit their shareholders.

But the years since haven’t been kind to the image of big business.

The economic collapse of 2008, revelations of gross personal misconduct by well-known executives, stagnant wages and the rise of alienated younger generations who feel shut out from the American dream have all taken a toll.

And it seems the CEOs are feeling a bit defensive about it.

The Roundtable now says “we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” defined as including employees, suppliers, and “the communities in which we work,” along with the stockholders. “We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

This is a far cry from the “greed is good” mantra of the 1980s and beyond.

And it sounds more in line with the admonition of Pope Francis six years ago for CEOs to be “challenged by a greater meaning in life [that] will enable them truly to serve the common good.”

Is it for real, or just a PR stunt?

We’ll see.

But the fact they feel compelled to say it at all suggests times have changed, and evokes another famous quote from Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio weekday mornings at :55 minutes past the hour. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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