This article appeared in the September 30, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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When capitalism works

Rob Ostermaier/The Daily Press/AP
University of the Bahamas student Lakiesa Saunders applauds the Hampton University band during a ceremony welcoming the students to campus Sept. 24, 2019. Students displaced by Hurricane Dorian have been invited to attend the school free of charge while theirs is rebuilt.

Welcome to a new week. Today’s five stories tackle solutions to the decline in local news, questions about Ukraine and the Biden family, the assumptions rooted in identity politics, adjusting aid to refugees’ changing needs – and how taking a different view of fellow summer travelers at a crowded Yellowstone changed the whole experience.

But first, a question: Is there a kinder, gentler capitalism to be had?

The Business Roundtable recently caused a stir by asking firms to “continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans.” Billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio has questioned if there’s “equal opportunity for the American dream.”  In “The Economist’s Hour,” Binyamin Appelbaum writes, “[the market revolution] has come at the expense of economic equality, of the health of liberal democracy.”

So it’s worth taking note of those setting a compassionate example.

The CEO of Gravity Payments in Boise, Idaho, announced last week that starting pay would be increased $10,000, with further bumps to come – and cut his own pay to do it. Having done this once before, Dan Price says the move was difficult – but the payoff is employees who can save more or get out of debt.

Briton Julian Richer recently announced he would sell a majority stake in his company, Richer Sounds, to a trust owned by staff, who would also get a bonus. He has written that “organisations that create a culture based on fairness, honesty and respect reap the rewards.”

And then there’s Hampton University in Virginia. Setting a standard for future leaders, it just welcomed 46 undergraduates from the hurricane-devastated north campus of the University of the Bahamas. They’ll attend for free – no small offer for a university to make. But as President William Harvey told them: “I want you new Hamptonians to understand that giving of yourself to others is one of the greatest things you can bestow.”

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This article appeared in the September 30, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/30 edition