Writing for The Daily Mail in 2008 (says it all really doesn’t it) Richard Branson said: “Entrepreneurs have made the world a better place, taking the risks involved in innovating products and services that make people’s lives easier, better and safer.” A bold, sweeping statement that is not entirely accurate.
Branson’s piece for the newspaper was titled “In defence of capitalism” and is precisely the argument you expect to hear from a man that is worth, according to Forbes’ latest estimate, some $5 billion.
For Branson, capitalism is the answer to the world’s problems. He admits that it may need a few tweaks and changes, but he is insistent that it is only through the pursuit of profit that societies are to improve.
The Virgin boss is just one of a number of billionaires that appear fairly frequently in Philanthrocapitalism: How The Rich Can Save The World. It is a book that I read a few months ago, but did little to convince me that the wealthy are indeed the world’s saviours.