Capitalism as Charity

There’s so much good about this article. First of course, is the water filter. I want one. And the generator. But second, the capitalism: let’s make these people rich, so we can sell stuff to them.

“We believe Coca-Cola’s business can only be as healthy as the community it is part of, so the well-being of the community is important to our long-term strategy,” says Derk Hendriksen, the general manager of the Ekocenter program. Notably, the company won’t directly profit from the program; each “downtown in a box” will operate as a standalone business run by a local entrepreneur, typically a woman, selected and trained by Coke. (That the soda giant enjoys an image boost in the process goes without saying.)

I can’t find it online, but there’s an anecdote about Milton Friedman debating Ayn Rand on altruism, where he said that if altruism is a deep and abiding concern of one man for the needs of his neighbor, then no one is more altruistic than an honest businessman, because his entire livelihood comes from finding ways to benefit his neighbor. If he can’t find a way to give his neighbor something that is more valuable to him than the cash in his pocket, the businessman has to close up shop.

And here you have a case in point.

I’m not sure what to do with the giant close-up picture of the inventor at the front. If I ever become famous and need to get my picture put up everywhere, I’m going to have to find a way around getting weird pictures taken of me.

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