Friday, April 18, 2014
The Dalai Lama Visits The American Enterprise Institute
At least one person at the conservative AEI appreciated the message delivered by the Dalai Lama. He was probably atypical because he had previously participated in Buddhist practices. On the other hand, his message in this article is worth repeating. He seems to agree with Dalai Lama that the goal of capitalism should be to increase well-being. Capitalism, in its many forms, has clearly led to growth in output. Some of that output has been made available to the poor in many parts of the world. The real question is whether the mission of our largest corporations is consistent with the goal of increasing well-being. There is no apparent relationship between the mission of increasing shareholder value and increasing well-being. That can be accomplished by increasing revenues and cutting costs. The economy will grow but the output of the economy may not have a strong relationship with well-being and there is no reason why it should be more equally shared. Shareholder value and economic efficiency have no relationship to morality. The Dalai Lama would applaud a form of capitalism that include moral principles that went beyond the self interest of corporate managers and shareholders. It would be an achievement if the AEI would make a contribution to that goal.