Capitalism – Time for a Reset

Financial Times, by Lionel Barber
17th September 2019

Dear reader,

Today we unveil The New Agenda, a brand campaign that highlights the FT’s role in helping you to navigate what might be described as “the new normal”.

Every day, the journalism you support covers the big, emerging themes that are reshaping business and society. With this campaign, we will challenge you – leaders in the boardroom and beyond – to join us in pursuing one overriding theme: securing the future of business done well.

We at the Financial Times believe in free enterprise capitalism. It is the foundation for the creation of wealth which provides more jobs, more money and more taxes.

The liberal capitalist model has delivered peace, prosperity and technological progress for the past 50 years, dramatically reducing poverty and raising living standards throughout the world.

But in the decade since the global financial crisis, the model has come under strain, particularly the focus on maximising profits and shareholder value. These principles of good business are necessary but not sufficient.

The long-term health of free enterprise capitalism will depend on delivering profit with purpose. Companies will come to understand that this combination serves their self-interest as well as their customers and employees. Without change, the prescription risks being far more painful.

Free enterprise capitalism has shown a remarkable capacity to reinvent itself. At times, as the historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay wisely noted, it is necessary to reform in order to preserve. Today, the world has reached that moment.

It is time for a reset.

Lionel Barber