The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Strategic CSR - Investors vs. Speculators

If you haven’t seen it yet, this YouTube video is compelling TV:

The video is a BBC interview with Alessio Rastani, an investor who presents a starkly honest perspective on the Euro zone economic crisis from his view as someone whose job it is to prosper from such events.

As explained in the article in the url below:

Wall Street now has its equivalent of a reality TV star. A clip from the BBC of a self-described trader admitting to dreaming of financial doom as a money spinner has spread like wildfire over the Internet. The would-be Gordon Gekko doesn’t work for a Wall Street firm, but his vulgar amorality offers a description of trading that has struck a chord with a public smoldering over bank bailouts. Alessio Rastani, an ersatz trader, wasn’t a big name in finance. He was nobody until this week. Still, he has some claim to represent the primitive id of traders everywhere. His obvious indifference to the human suffering caused by financial collapses and economic downturns — in this case the crisis facing European nations — seemingly shocked the public, not to mention the BBC anchors who let him rant ad nauseam.

The disconnect between the core purpose of the stockmarket (a vehicle for firms to raise capital) and investors today (who act more like gamblers) is undermining much of the good work being done within CSR (The Shareholder Shift—From Investor to Speculator, pp. 44-46). CEOs and executives who recognize the potential of for-profit firms to be the core of the solution, rather than the problem, are constrained in their ability to act in the long-term interests of their organizations and respond to the demands of a broad base of stakeholder groups. Understanding that we all choose which jobs/careers we do and whether we decide to act in the broader, societal interest or our own narrow, short term interest is essential to determining the future society we will create.