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Classified in: Covid-19 virus
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Author Andrew Faas issues open letter to Corporate America

TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2021 /CNW/ - Andrew Faas, founder of the Faas Foundation and author of 'From Bully to Bull's-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire' has released the following message to corporate America:

Last week we witnessed the near demise of democracy. Today and for the foreseeable future we will experience its fragility. Much of the blame for this rests on your shoulders. Your response to the financial meltdown of more than a decade ago set the stage for this. More recently you were warned when Bridgewater's Ray Dalio and J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon expressed that unless capitalism is reformed there will be "class warfare."  I reported on this in an article for The Hill called 'The Wealth Gap is Real, But Capitalism Can Work For All' (May 17, 2019).

Shortly after this, in response to the warning, 181 of you signed the Business Roundtable's 'Statement of Purpose,' redefining the purpose to be one that delivers value to all stakeholders, not just shareholders.  Something that gave many of us some hope. That hope was destroyed a year later in September of 2020, when the 'Test of Corporate Purpose Initiative' exposed the statement as nothing but empty rhetoric. Worse yet, all too many of you are still entrenched in the shareholder above all others mindset, at the expense of your other stakeholders, many of whom are destitute. 

A recent Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that nearly 8 in 10 adults (78%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives, while 3 in 5 (60%) say the number of issues America faces is overwhelming. Further, a November 2020 study by Ceridian indicates 64% of workers (one of your major stakeholders) want to quit their jobs; a pretty damming condemnation on just how your employees feel. In early March, Mental Health America and the Faas Foundation will issue their third annual 'Mind the Workplace' report which validates the Ceridian study, in that the majority of workers want to quit and highlights how badly you, as their employers, have responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the attempted coup of January 6th, many of you have made pronouncements against those who are complicit and distanced your companies from their benefactors, which some may applaud; however, if you had heeded the "civil war" warning almost two years ago, and better handled the COVID-19 crisis, it would have given these pronouncements some credibility.

Assuming there will not be a coup before January 20th, a new era begins. A recovery effort is required as daunting as what President Roosevelt faced because of the Great Depression. Key to the recovery is unifying the country; everyone working towards a common purpose. I indicated in my article in The Hill, the country needs to re-ratify the international covenant of economic, social and cultural rights that went into force in 1976.  The covenant espouses the right to work in just and favorable conditions; to social protections; an adequate standard of living and the highest standards of health; and the right to education and cultural benefits. 

To date, most of you have viewed this as socialist propaganda. This was highlighted by Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel, when he at the same conference where Dalio and Dimon gave their "civil war" warning, blamed people for "not understanding history" suggesting that if they followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, they would not heed the far-left agenda. For this you must take some responsibility in aiding and abetting, through your business coalitions, the far right in the distortion and myths on so called socialism and the far-left agenda. The Republican core bought into this, which may be due to the Department of Education's calculation that 54 percent of America's population of adults aged 16-74 lack proficiency in literacy - reading below the equivalency of a sixth grade level.

So rather than going through a history lesson on the collapse of the Soviet Union people should learn a lesson on how a country like Norway whose GDP at $67,986 comes in at number 5 out of 20 countries in the United Nations' World Happiness Report and the United States whose GDP is lower at $63,051 and comes in at number 18 on the happiness index.

Using the same 20 countries as a comparison to multiple indexes published by organizations such as The World Bank, OECD, World Economic Forum, and The United Nations you will find that America ranks at the bottom or close to it in almost every one; and Norway ranks at the top or close to it in almost every one. 

No doubt some of you will argue that people in Norway pay more tax than Americans, which is correct as Norway's average tax rate is 4.8 percent points higher at 38.2 compared to the United States' 33 percent; which I would argue, the Norwegian's get more for their buck in return; and Norway has been and is delivering on the international covenant of social and cultural rights; and America has and is not.

The core base of the far right (many of whom are your employees) are fighting to make America great again; they are fighting to protect America's way of life; and they are fighting to protect America from socialism. Last week we witnessed the extent to which they will go. Armed marches on Capitol Hill and all State Capitals are being organized for January 17th, again testing democracy. As employers, you are in the best position of any group to diffuse the emotions before this potential civil war by convincing your people that America can become great when its socio/economic system becomes more aligned to that of Norway's. Following this, you and your colleagues need to make a choice whether to continue to be bound by a shareholder-only business model or to one that insures citizens enjoy the rights to work in just and favorable conditions, social protections, an adequate standard of living, the highest standards of health and the right to education and cultural benefits. If you do not choose the latter, there will be uprisings that will make what the country is going through today look like tiddlywinks.

Andrew Faas is the author of 'From Bully to Bull's-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,' Founder of the Faas Foundation, and a Public Voices Fellow at Yale University.

Media Contact: Patrick Mundt
949-887-0633 | pmundt@faasfoundation.org

SOURCE The Faas Foundation

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