Sane ROI is a concept that I’ve been passionate about, for years, and is also presented in the book. I haven’t always used this specific terminology, but I’m happy to introduce it, in this entry. In short, it means re-engineering our intentionally exclusionary corporation code to be fundamentally inclusive. Not just of people, but of ideas, and priorities. Especially, priorities.
Anyone who has ever started a business, however humble, understands the legal concept of Fiduciary Duty (FD). The full unpacking and debunking of how FD has become malignant in the context of corporate code will require additional posts, so as not to dilute the focus of this entry. For the purposes of this brief summary, we’ll have to settle for pointing out the gas-lighting on Wikipedia, in the form of what’s referred to as ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance, referenced below.
The Post-Automation Era continues emerging apace with the increasing exposure and decline of the current Third Robber Baron Age. If the old adage that third time is a charm has any efficacy to it, then this is the third time – following Feudalism and Industrialism &ndash: that western civilization has suffered the consequences of this Wicked Game, and this time, we’re done, pau, over it. Never again.
For ages, oligarchs have been expert at spinning their psychopathic, narcissistic ambitions into something that sounds like they are altruistic, and also thinking of others. “Yes, we’re pathologically selfish, and you should be too, because that’s the best of all possible worlds.” Confirmation bias, much? As of 2021, I think it’s safe to say, at least half of Americans have awakened from the siren song that, “if only you are only as gung-ho and ruthless as we are, you can achieve what we’ve achieved,” and people are calling B.S. on such predictable, superficial tactics.
Nevertheless, this stuff reads extremely convincingly, if and only if one is already pre-conditioned to give a tremendous, astronomical, benefit of the doubt, to personalities and institutions that have proved by their actions the material reality of their cloaked ambitions. And just under half of Americans, still fall into this Charlie Brown camp, believing that this time, Lucy won’t pull away the football. “But Charlie Brown, it’s ESG!” From this perspective, the mocking bottom line that, “isn’t it peculiar Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade away?” is incredibly appropriate in the context of the traditions of public assemblage, worker self-organization, and conscious opposition to tyrannical social structures, institutions, and systems.
So, what is Sane ROI? Let’s ask the husband-wife team of Jesse Itzler and Sara Blakely, co-owners of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, consequent to being the founders of a number of name-brand businesses. Jesse began as a despised and maligned rapper who went on to create Marquis Jets, Zico Coconut Water, and found of The 100 Mile Group. In March of 2012, SPANX founder Sara was named the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, SPANX also shapes the world by focusing on the mission: To help women feel great about themselves and their potential. To hear Sara speak is to learn that it’s not just about body-image, but about cultivating empowered total self-image.
It’s the combination of Sara’s explanation with Jesse’s endorsement that, for me, represents a great elevator pitch for Sane ROI as the next major upgrade to capitalism, as we’ve known it for the past few centuries. Their clear valuation of ideas as the gold mine from which all business execution emerges, is a nice touch of gilding on an already golden slide deck.
As Steve Jobs often began, “so here’s a dopey idea.” The number one systemic change we can make to correct the imbalances of Narcissistic Shareholder Capitalism is to modernize the corporation code to make exclusive shareholder returns illegal. That’s right. Illegal. The reason for this is the extreme imbalance that we’re experiencing as a direct and almost sole result of Narcissistic Shareholder Capitalism. Now that I have your triggered attention, let’s clarify. What this means is modernizing the corporation code, the law, to bring C-corp, S-corp, LLC’s etc, into closer alignment with Public Benefit Corporations. Here’s what that means: corporations can still continue to put shareholder returns above all other priorities, but they no longer have to prioritize profit over every other human value.
In a benefit corporation, profit is the point as is returning money to the shareholders. [However,] a benefit corporation possesses a greater specific purpose and a desire for the corporation to help make the world a better place. The difference [between traditional C corporations and S corporations] is that these companies contribute charitable donations voluntarily [when it suits them, generally as a form of brand-washing, and] their financial commitment can change from year to year; whereas with a benefit corporation, the company is committed to dedicating resources, funds or both toward its chosen public benefit(s), and shareholders [and board members] cannot extinguish or water-down the commitment from year to year. (DelawareInc.com).
That last point is a vital key to making #SaneROI a new default consensus reality in the 21st century.
Finally, if you find yourself somewhat, or even strongly resonating with the ideals of Sane ROI, please do make use of the #SaneROI hashtag in the context of your own direct experience. If, on the other hand, you still view yourself as an adversary to Sane ROI for a world that works for everyone, we pledge to do our best to demonstrate in our actions, how these principles can and will benefit you and your family, as well. We are not opponents. We are all in this together. We are not fighting anything, we are standing for something. We are standing for human value, and humane values.
As always, of course, don’t believe or trust me, do your own homework, and find out about the thousands of Public Benefit Corporations, like Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings, Inc., Patagonia, Inc., internet companies like Hootsuite and Kickstarter that have already proven that profits, and growth, and shareholder returns can all flourish, without being the be-all, end-all, blind religious conviction of hundreds of millions, which time and time again, inevitably leads to the suffering of the Cycle of Robber Baron abuse and injustice. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we will surely keep getting what we always got. We can do better. We are already doing better. Let’s continue the inquiry, the journey, together.
3,928 Companies. 150 Industries. 74 Countries. 1 Unifying Goal. Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. BCorporation.net.
Please, do look for yourself. We don’t see SPANX on the list yet, but wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t only because they haven’t become familiar with the benefits of Public Benefit Corporations, which only strengthen and amplify the values that mindful business executives already live, all day, every day. We’re confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many everyday profitable public benefit businesses you might find, right in your own backyard.