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Progressive BusinessAn Intellectual History of the Role of Business in American Society$
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Christian Christiansen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701033.001.0001

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How to Do Well and Do Good

How to Do Well and Do Good

The Spirit of Entrepreneurial Capitalism in the Age of the Second Great Transformation (1970s–2000s)

(p.142) 4 How to Do Well and Do Good
Progressive Business

Christian Olaf Christiansen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the rising prominence of neoliberalism in the 1990s and 2000s, and considers arguments about capitalism being without alternatives, being the best in creating wealth, achieving social efficiency, and developing technology. The new, entrepreneurial “spirit” of American capitalism in the 1990s, however, also holds that free markets were the very essence of freedom, democracy, consumer sovereignty, coolness, and individual self-actualization. Capitalism was described as revolutionary, color-blind, and anti-hierarchical as well as capable of moral self-governance. Social entrepreneurship was in search of “shared value,” and corporations were construed as global, responsible citizens. There were tensions between the view of the corporation as an instrument for shareholder value-maximization and a “progressive” view of the corporation with a “corporate conscience,” publicly displaying its care for life and humanity itself. But they shared the basic premises of business being the key, progressive force in history, and that to “do well” could be combined with “doing good.”

Keywords:   Francis Fukuyama, neoliberalism, spirit of capitalism, Peter F. Drucker, business ideology, Stephen R. Covey, management literature, business ethics, corporate social responsibility, shared value

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