At Yankee Stadium last week, Bill Clinton told 5,000 New York University graduates that there are “two bad ideas” that the U.S. has embraced in the past 30 years. One is that companies now only worry about profits. This is an idea enshrined in today’s business schools.
“I was probably the last generation of Americans until the present day who could have gotten an MBA, if I went to business school instead of law school, with the prevailing theory being that American corporations had obligations primarily to their stakeholders.
“Ever since then we’ve been teaching our young people that your primarily obligation is only to the shareholder. The problem is that if you do that you ignore the other stakeholders.
“That could be why wages have been virtually stagnant for the past 30 years, because the workers are stakeholders. It could be why communities have been unable to undertake economic transformations in many places, because communities are stakeholders. It could be why customers don’t care so much what the source of their purchases are, they’re stakeholders.”
The second wrong idea is that the U.S. government “messes everything up that it touches.”
Two years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed NYU grads at Yankee Stadium.