COVID-19 is a chance for CEOs to show some humanity

Editorial: There's more to life than profit.

by Adam Gale

Not to get all metaphysical on you, what with the pandemic and all, but why do you exist?

As a business, that’s hardly a straightforward question to answer. To give your customers the best widgets possible, so they can live their best lives? To provide jobs making those widgets, bringing prosperity to your community? To pursue as much profit as possible for yourselves, nakedly?

The reality is usually some undefinable combination of the three, which requires a peculiar kind of doublethink from the business’s leaders. They may say in public that they exist for a higher purpose beyond profit, but if they really meant that they’d slash the dividends to zero and ramp up unprofitable business lines that do the greatest social good. Clearly there’s a limit to purpose. 

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