Companies as “Social Assets”

For today’s Microblogvember prompt, company, I kept thinking back to my visit to the Morven Museum in Princeton last year. There, in the permanent exhibition, I found this pictured credo from Johnson & Johnson. Apparently it is still their credo, but I’m skeptical that any non-B-Corp can actually run that way today. J&J itself has been implicated in the opioid crisis, found to have used false and misleading claims in marketing their drugs.

But maybe things are changing.

Either way, having grown up on the 80s, the idea that a company could be about anything other than maximizing profits was alien to me. I cannot imagine an U.S. corporation today staking out such a position. It reads like a bonkers utopia.

Another quote from the exhibit:

Out of the suffering of the past few years has been born a public knowledge and conviction that industry only has the right to succeed where it performs a real economic service and is a true social asset.

— Robert Wood Johnson

Josh Fishburn @jafish