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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 30, Issue 3/4, 2011

R. Edward Freeman, Adrian Keevil, Lauren Purnell
Pages 179-194

Poor People and the Politics of Capitalism

The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the current conversation about the relationship between capitalism and the poor assumes a story about business that is shopworn and outmoded. There are assumptions about business, human behavior, and language that are no longer useful in the twenty first century. Business needs to be understood as how we cooperate together to create value and trade. It is fundamentally about creating value for stakeholders. Human beings are not solely self-interested, but driven by meaning, purpose, and the ability to cooperate. And, language is best understood as a tool, rather than a source of representation. Business and capitalism with these new assumptions can be realized by large and small businesses as not just about money and profits but as the creation of meaning within a prophetic framework.

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