Book | 2011

Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business

by Joseph L. Bower, Herman B. Leonard and Lynn S. Paine


The spread of capitalism worldwide has made people wealthier than ever before. But capitalism's future is far from assured. The global financial meltdown of 2008 nearly triggered another Great Depression, economies in Europe are still teetering, and powerful forces—income inequality, resource depletion, and mass migrations from poor to rich countries, to name just a few—pose serious threats to continued prosperity. How can the future of capitalism be secured? And who should spearhead the effort? Many observers point to government. But in Capitalism at Risk the authors argue otherwise. While they agree that governments must play a role, they maintain that businesses should lead the way. Indeed, for enterprising companies, the current threats to market capitalism present vital opportunities. Drawing on discussions with business leaders around the world, the authors argue that companies must stop seeing themselves as bystanders and instead develop innovative business strategies that address the disruptors, produce profitable growth, and strengthen institutions at the community, national, and international levels.

Keywords: business and society; Economic Growth; Economic Systems; Financial Crisis; Leading Change; Growth and Development Strategy; Business and Community Relations; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Business Strategy;


Bower, Joseph L., Herman B. Leonard, and Lynn S. Paine. Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business. Harvard Business Review Press, 2011. (Published in Chinese as "Qi ye zai jing ji zhong de jue se," Beijing: China Machine Press, 2012. Published in Japanese as ハーバードが教える 10年後に生き残る会社、消える会社, Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd., 2013.)