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Conscious Capitalism, with Alexander McCobin

Conscious Capitalism, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating the theory and practice of Conscious Capitalism and supporting an emerging network of Conscious Capitalism chapters serving as a community of inquiry worldwide. Parvati Magazine interviewed their Co-CEO Alexander McCobin.

Parvati Magazine: You’ve said the Conscious Capitalism movement has the power bring about a new era in human existence. Can you share this vision?

Alexander McCobin: Conscious Capitalism’s vision is a world in which business is both practiced and perceived as the greatest force for good. We believe business is good because it creates value. Business is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange. Business is noble because it can elevate our existence. And business is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. When business is pursued properly, in a more conscious manner, free enterprise capitalism is by far the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. Imagine how much higher we could elevate humanity if all businesses operated more consciously.

Conscious Capitalism recognizes the interdependent nature of life, including interconnectedness with a life-sustaining ecosystem. How does this manifest?

AM: By design, any business which fully incorporates the four pillars of Conscious Capitalism—Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture—will naturally align with eco-friendly practices.

One member, Clarke, is a recognized global environmental products and services leader making communities more livable, safe and comfortable. Clarke’s environmentally responsible mosquito control and aquatic services help prevent disease, control nuisances and create healthy waterways.

Conscious Capitalism’s Board is comprised of eco-friendly leaders. Forbes magazine deemed Laura Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Pantheon Enterprises, “The Toxic Avenger” for shattering the myth safer chemical technologies are less effective and more expensive. Pantheon has won numerous awards, including recognition as one of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies.

PMAG: Why is now the time for growth of the movement worldwide?

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, first published in 1776, is widely credited with ushering in capitalism as a viable economic system. The printing press, invented more than 300 years earlier, initiated a global acceleration of knowledge sharing enabling a concept like capitalism to help establish the most prosperous and economically liberated nation on Earth. The internet is the 21st Century’s printing press. We now have potential to reach, inspire and empower conscious leaders, conscious consumers, academics and students wherever they may be—even in nations where access to knowledge is restricted.

Over the past two centuries, Smith’s “system of natural liberty” has done more to lift humanity out of poverty than any other. Life expectancy has more than doubled. The percentage of people living on less than $1/day has shrunk dramatically. Average GDP and quality of life have increased significantly. And more people are capable of living at this higher quality of life than could be conceived before.

Today, the global economy is still shaken from the damage left behind by Conscious Capitalism’s antithesis: Crony Capitalism. Skepticism over the ethical boundaries of free enterprise may be at their highest levels ever. Adam Smith began as a moral philosopher, publishing The Theory of Moral Sentiments 17 years before The Wealth of Nations. Capitalism was rooted in ethics from its start. There is a demand to revive that tradition. If we do so, we can unleash the power of free enterprise to elevate humanity to even greater heights.

PMAG: Conscious Capitalism Inc. is active in 12 countries with 34 chapters in the United States alone. How can interested business people learn more?

Our primary charge is to grow the acceptance, practice and promotion of a self-reinforcing system, where by changing the way businesses are run, we change the narrative about business; and by changing the narrative about business, we change the way they are run. If you think the concept of elevating humanity through business is a worthy pursuit, start with a Web search for “Conscious Capitalism.” There are many articles, videos and blog posts to fuel interest in a viable alternative to “business as usual.” The book Conscious Capitalism would be a logical next step. Chapter membership and attending a local or national Conscious Capitalism conference is where those committed to elevating humanity through business find the greatest sources for empowerment.

Conscious Capitalism: The Movie

Just released on Curiosity Stream, the Conscious Capitalism movie not only gives viewers insight into the four pillars of conscious capitalism and why this new way of doing business works in the modern economy, it also provides two success stories, Whole Foods and Waste Management.

Dan Birman, Producer: What is interesting is the notion that a system producing so much wealth can still work just fine while considering other factors such as employees, the customers, and the environment.

We learned it does not take major surgery for a business to rethink their objectives, beginning with defining a greater purpose. This is not about altruism, it’s about setting an agenda that starts to reshape some basic premises. We discovered that some pretty impressive companies, in the eyes of the business community and of their customers, are committed to a bigger vision. They make a lot of money while making a few tweaks that create better conditions for employees, the customers, and the environment.

Our company enjoys handling complex content, that is, working with ideas not so easy to translate to visual storytelling. Together with Curiosity Stream we found an approach we think is accessible, explains the essence of conscious capitalism, and gives good examples of how two successful companies made it work.


Alexander McCobinAlexander McCobin is co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism. For the eight years before joining Conscious Capitalism, he served as president of Students for Liberty. Alexander earned an MA in philosophy from Georgetown University and earned a BA in philosophy and economics and an MA in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.