Do we need a return to capitalism with a conscience? Two eminent speakers (the Spectator business editor and a prominent Yorkshire manufacturer) both told guests at a public lecture at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University that we do!  

Adding his voice Professor Robert MacIntyre, pro vice-chancellor of the faculty of business and law drew the audience’s attention to the business benefits morally, reputationally and financially of responsible practice.  This was not lost on a ‘blended’ audience of business people, academics and students.   Martin Vander Weyer, author of ‘The Good the Bad and the Greedy: Why We’ve Lost Faith in Capitalism’ argues that capitalism has lost its moral compass, has lost public trust and is in urgent need of repair, but is still far better than any alternative.  

Joining him, and the plea for a less greedy, more considerate form of business behaviour, was industrialist and philanthropist, Gordon Black CBE who experienced the business benefits of running an ethical business underpinned by trust and respect.  Peter Black Holdings was a major supplier to the UK’s leading retailers with annual sales of £300 million employing 3,000 people in Keighley.   

The argument of the pundit, the practitioner and the academic were brought into sharp focus by some of the students in the audience.  If businesses want to attract top talent, they have to behave well.  A third year Newcastle student told us that ethical business practice was a ‘key consideration’ when he was looking for his first career-role at a leading American law firm.  Another from Northumbria said that it wasn’t enough for businesses ‘just to be profitable – they needed to add value.’

Videos of this event can be found here:

Northumbria Univeristy – The Good The Bad The Greedy – Monday 22nd November V1

Northumbria University – The Good The Bad The Greedy Promo V1

Books by the speakers can be found here:

‘The Good the Bad and the Greedy: Why We’ve Lost Faith in Capitalism’ by Martin Vander Weyer is published by Biteback

From Bags to Blenders, The Journey of a Yorkshire Businessman’ by Gordon Black CBE is published by Icon Books  

Caroline Theobald – Director, NIBE