Request for Support

I ask you to consider supporting the work of the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism with a donation to our operating budget.

I attach our 2020 Year in Review (annual report) to document our contributions and successes during last year.

We seem to have a unique role to play – in a free space to expand and have influence in between business, academia, foundations and governments, drawing on all, but dependent on none, to fashion with our round tables sound, new departures for action and vision.

At a time of pandemic, when so much in our lives is uncertain, uneasy and stressful, reliable, but most importantly, determined leadership, is more necessary than ever. Leadership, as always, depends on ideas and moral conviction. We, therefore, seek to support all with both, so that their leadership will rise to the demanding challenges of our time. My father used to say “Never show the white feather,” especially when others on the team look to us for reassurance and steady stewardship.

For 2021, our priority will be to launch online certificate educational programs on the theory and practice of moral capitalism and moral government. These web-based modules will be accessible globally. Through education, we plan to inspire and stimulate individuals to make their respective contributions to better outcomes in business and civic justice.

Secondly, we will propose more collaboration and coordination among the now many efforts promoting sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and alignment of enterprise with care for the environment, society and governance.

Thirdly, we will continue to provide thought leadership through round tables, our newsletter Pegasus and workshops on modernizing valuation.

Given the difficulties caused by the pandemic for traditional means of outreach in solicitation of support and personally engaging with donors and supporters, we hope you can be especially generous with your contribution this year.

You can donate via PayPal.

If you would like to mail a check, our address is 75 West Fifth Street, Suite 219, St. Paul, MN 55102.

If you would like to contribute via wire transfer, please reply to this message.

Anything you can give would be most appreciated.

A Most Important CRT Report on Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with Christian Communities

On our homepage, you will find a remarkable document titled “Founding Principles for Modern Imperatives: The Overlooked Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad” issued by Lord Daniel Brennan, our Chairman emeritus and myself.

The report notes the discussions and presentations made to a small study group convened by the Caux Round Table (CRT) to consider the historicity and contents of covenants made by the Prophet Muhammad to respect and protect Christian communities. Our colleagues noted in the report contributed with diligence and grace to our discussions and to the writing of it.

To consider the covenants of the Prophet, the CRT drew on its network of scholars and thoughtful colleagues, asking them to participate in this two-year study of long forgotten documents.

For no doubt very human reasons, which I do not fully comprehend, these covenants made by the Prophet himself have been rather thoroughly overlooked by both Muslims and Christians for centuries.

But we today are not bound by the practices of our predecessors. We can read the covenants for ourselves, assess their meaning and, if we choose, apply them in our time to relations between Christians and Muslims.

For me personally, having participated in the three workshops noted in our report, it is incumbent upon Christians to acknowledge the good faith and grace of the Prophet in making these covenants, which are to stand until the end of time and are, by their terms, binding on all faithful Muslims. Reciprocally, it is similarly incumbent upon Muslims to reflect upon that same good faith and grace of the Prophet Muhammad as guidance for their own lives.

In these covenants, the Prophet Muhammad, to me, set forth high standards of fraternity and humane responsibility for the good of others which are most fitting for our global community of different ethnic, intellectual and religious expressions of something common – our human dignity and spiritual resourcefulness in this world which we did not create on our own.

Two New CRT Fellows Appointed

It is my honor to announce the appointment of two new fellows: Ven. Dr. Anil Sakya and John Dalla Costa.

Ven. Anil is the Honorary Rector of the World Buddhist University in Bangkok. He was recently given the post of Dev Pada, the fourth highest title in the Thai Buddhist tradition, by His Majesty, King Rama X. He is an Assistant Abbot at Wat Bowonniwet. He was, for many years, the personal secretary of the late Supreme Patriarch. Ven. Anil is Nepalese from the Sakya Clan of the Buddha and has lived in Thailand for over 40 years. He and I have collaborated in writing several essays on an understanding of “dharma,” as taught by the Buddha in his first sermon as the capacity to live sustainably in the always turning kaleidoscope of our lives in this reality.

John Dalla Costa has written, in my opinion, two of the best books in business ethics: The Ethical Imperative and Magnificence at Work. He has been an invaluable member of our study team seeking to learn more about the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad to respect and protect Christians. John deeply understands both the practicalities and the spiritual aspirations of Catholc Social Teachings and will be very helpful in our engagement with that wisdom tradition and our initiatives with the Holy See.

December Pegasus Now Available!

Here is the December edition of Pegasus.

In this issue, we include a piece from yours truly about our Principles for Business and Stoic humanism.  We also added an excerpt of a recent decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission which now requires companies to provide the public with more information on their human capital.

I would be most interested in your thoughts and feedback.

Happy New Year!

End of Year Reflection and Request

Of what use is an effort like the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism (CRT) during a time of pandemic?

What is the case for financial support of our mission and the many thoughtful contributions of members of our network?

As 2020 comes to an end, in this holiday season for many of us, I have been reflecting on this.

For the past months, key phrases and words pushed upon us by the pandemic have been “follow the science,” “lockdowns” and “what should the government do?,” among others.

But does science have a moral compass?  Does government?  Do politicians and regulators?

The moral compass of science is in the minds of the scientists.  Data, as we know, must be interpreted.  Data can be manipulated to fit narratives.  Who controls making the narratives to which data is subordinated?  Which narratives are sound, reliable?  Which ones should be taken as truth?

Scientists have power and power always needs moral guidance to seek what is good, right and fair.

Ordering lockdowns is another use of power.  All government is the use of power over others. What moral standards set limits on the use of public power?

One lesson taught to us by the pandemic is the foundational importance of work in morals and ethics, in finding principles which can be applied in action to affect the outcomes of our lives.

It’s an old point actually, but technology, tools, instruments and expertise without more is unguided and, therefore, can be shaped by human purposes for good, bad or indifference and irrelevance.  Human purposes, of course, have many sources, venture out on many roads seeking disparate goals and objectives and justify themselves with many rationalizations.  The pandemic has taught us to consider ethics, as well as expertise.

The perspective of moral capitalism would have enterprise respond to a pandemic by quickly developing new technologies for detection of the virus, care of those taken ill and creation of vaccines to protect against infection.  In addition, the well-being of stakeholders, especially customers and employees, must be factored into the search for profit.

Lockdowns also demonstrated the ethical need for businesses to remain profitable under such conditions, to provide needed goods and services and to fund families through employment of workers.

Though they can create liquidity, it seems self-evident that public agencies cannot fund economies indefinitely.  At some point, real wealth must be created to sustain community well-being.

With respect to governments, the CRT application of morality to public office prioritizes the role of trust as a requirement for good government.  Government has an obligation to earn public trust.

Secondly, the moral imperative of earning trust leads to a second standard for good government – the use of discourse, full and free discourse, tolerant and comprehensive, where data and arguments are scrutinized and not taken for granted as a priori truth.

One example of our work, which is both unique and bears within it the seeds of greater harmony between Christians and Muslims, is our study of the moral standards contained in certain covenants made with Christian communities by the Prophet Muhammad.  No one else has undertaken such a study, which grew out of our explorations of ethical teachings across our global communities.

With the start of the pandemic, we made special efforts to reach out to our fellows and others to gather their insights and wisdom about finding meaning and purpose in these unexpected and unnerving times.  We framed this work as reaching out to the moral sense as an active force for good in our world.

If this perspective on the importance of moral reflection makes sense to you, we would be grateful for your assistance, both financially and with ideas, on how best to strengthen the quality of CRT round tables and publications.

Please also consider who you might interest in the work of the CRT and introduce them to us.

You may contribute to us one of three ways:

-by credit card via PayPal

-by mailing us a check: 75 West Fifth Street, Suite 219, St. Paul, MN 55102

-or via wire transfer (please respond to this message for instructions).

Thank you again for your past interest in our work and for your continued support.

2020 Dayton Award Recipients Announced

Our board has decided to award 2020 Dayton Awards to Andrew Cecere, Chairman, President and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, Don Samuels, CEO of MicroGrants and Sondra Samuels, President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone.

Also, in recalling Minnesota’s long legacy of business leadership, we wanted to also recognize James Ford Bell, Founder, President and Chairman of General Mills, for his remarkable leadership in helping feed Europeans and Russians after World War I.

Information about the award ceremony will be announced shortly.

Get “Moral Capitalism” at 40% Off!

Berrett-Koehler, the publisher of Moral Capitalism, is having a holiday book sale now through December 15. They’re offering a 40% discount on books bought through its website here.

To get the discount, enter the code ONWARD at checkout.

Moral Capitalism, published in 2003, has withstood the swings of fate and the ravages of time very well. It has just been translated into Russian. The premise of the book was validated last year by the Business Roundtable and World Economic Forum (WEF) in their endorsements of “stakeholder capitalism” as the purpose of business enterprise.

But neither the Business Roundtable nor WEF provided a theory integrating moral factors with microeconomics in a workable theory of the firm. Nor has the U.N.’s Global Compact or its Sustainable Development Goals provided such a useful theory to guide business practice. Nor has the investment community, with its very recent fascination with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes for enterprise.

What has stood the test of time may be reliable. As the author, I prefer to defer to the judgments of others, but I do want to let you know of the opportunity to buy Moral Capitalism at a good price.