Can we pass an amendment to the Constitution so Richard Branson can be President? What he says at the end of remarks about how businesses should treat employees, when he’s asked, What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?, is THE succinct pinpointing of where we are stuck. A world run by profit is not a world that works for the good of people. What he just mentions in passing to conclude the interview should have flashing neon lights all around it to draw the public’s attention to the bottleneck that is preventing our next evolutionary step. How to get over this HUGE hump? I was heartened to see how cogently he talks about a Basic Income Guarantee, a track I’ve been on since before we were even talking about this in the States, and was even more heartened when he went beyond that specific idea to urge businesses to become responsible change agents rather than narrow-minded profit seekers.
The conclusion of the piece in The New York Times:
David: What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?
Richard: A basic income should be introduced in Europe and in America. It’s great to see countries like Finland experimenting with it in certain cities. It’s a disgrace to see people sleeping on the streets with this material wealth all around them. And I think with artificial intelligence coming along, there needs to be a basic income.
David: Because of job displacement?
Richard: I think A.I. will result in there being less hours in the day that people are going to need to work. You know, three-day workweeks and four-day weekends. Then we’re going to need companies trying to entertain people during those four days, and help people make sure that they’re paid a decent amount of money for much shorter work time.
David: That’s a pretty rosy vision of what business can do. Is it really so simple?
Holly: If all businesses start doing the right thing for their communities and the world as a whole, all of the world’s problems could be solved.
Richard: If we can get every business in the world to adopt a global problem, get slightly smaller businesses to adopt a national problem, get smaller businesses still to adopt local problems, then we can get on top of pretty well every problem in the world.