Marc Benioff says “capitalism, as we know it, is dead,” and it is time for a new form of capitalism that focuses more on societal good.
“That new kind of capitalism that is going to emerge is not the Milton Friedman capitalism, that’s just about making money,” the billionaire co-CEO of Salesforce and owner of Time Magazine, said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco Thursday evening.
“If your orientation is just about making money, I don’t think you’re going to hang out very long as a CEO or a founder of a company. You have to be more than that in today’s world,” Benioff added.
Benioff is one of the more outspoken corporate leaders but he is not alone. Others are also trying to prioritize the good of their employees and customers over profit.
The Business Roundtable, an influential group of CEOs, said in August that America’s top corporations are responsible for improving society by serving all stakeholders ethically, morally and fairly – and not just for boosting the stock price for shareholders.
Benioff is widely known for being one of the more progressive CEOs in Silicon Valley – and all of Corporate America for that matter.
Salesforce (CRM) has spent millions of dollars over the past few years to raise salaries for female employees in order to bridge the pay gap between men and women at the company.
Benioff also donated $30 million to UC San Francisco earlier this year so the school could set up a new program dedicated to researching the root causes of homelessness – a problem that has hit the Bay Area particularly hard.
He is a staunch champion for environmental causes as well. Benioff co-wrote two op-eds for the CNN Business Perspectives section this year about the need to do more to prevent climate change and help save marine wildlife.
Benioff: Facebook should be regulated
Benioff also is not afraid to call out the tech industry for not doing enough to help the public good. He has repeatedly called Facebook (FB) an addiction that is similar to cigarettes – and should be regulated like tobacco companies.
Benioff reiterated his criticism of Facebook Thursday, saying that “we need a national privacy law. Otherwise you’re going to get a patchwork of privacy laws. We have to get our privacy and data locked down so we know where we’re going.”
And Benioff also addressed the issue of corporate governance that has been a problem for many young public tech companies and private startup unicorns that are hoping to one day go public. WeWork recently shelved its IPO plans, in part due to criticism of how much control founder Adam Neumann wields.
Benioff said he thinks many startups are now waiting too long to go public.
“What public markets do is indeed the great reckoning,” Benioff said.