Billionaires Want to End Capitalism As We Know It

Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and a group of other CEOs and former world leaders have formed a group whose goal is to end capitalism as we know it. The nonprofit, known as “The B Team,” was created to help promote a “better version of capitalism, one that prioritizes people and planet over profit.” This ignores the fact that capitalism is, by definition, motivated by profit.

The team, led by Branson and German businessman Jochen Zeitz, calls for drastic changes in how the economy works. These include “new rules and models for the future of business – not incremental ‘change as usual.’”

It’s no surprise that a group including Arianna Huffington would be promoted by the Huffington Post, but CNBC Europe also interviewed Branson and Zeitz on June 13 and had only good things to say about their project. In the “Closing Bell” interview, Branson said that part of the motivation for businesses to follow the goals laid out by The B Team would come from being viewed better by their employees. Businesses should “not just think about this quarters profit but also think, you know, ‘what are we doing to try to tackle our environmental issues, how can we do it better,’” Branson said.

According to The B Team’s mission statement: “Plan A - where companies have been driven by the profit motive alone – is no longer acceptable.” According to Branson, the group will work with “government agencies, the social sector and business leaders” in order to achieve their goals. Branson and Zeitz launched the group on Oct. 3, 2012.

The group is also heavily influenced by The Elders, a group of former global leaders that focuses on world peace. This group includes former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, and former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan.

Below is a list of the members of The B Team. The group includes CEOs and former world leaders from around the globe. In fact, only two members, Arianna Huffington and Kathy Calvin, are from the United States. Both of them also worked for AOL/The Huffington Post.

Founders:

  • Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group

  • Jochen Zeitz, chairman of Puma

Members:

  • Arianna Huffington, Chair, President & Editor In Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group

  • Shari Arison, Owner, Arison Group

  • Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, United Nations Foundation, Former President of the AOL Time Warner Foundation

  • Mo Ibrahim, Founder, Celtel

  • Guilherme Leal, Founder & Co-Chairman, Natura

  • Strive Masiyiwa, Founder & Chairman, Econet Wireless

  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Government of Nigeria

  • François-Henri Pinault, CEO & Chairman, Kering

  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

  • Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group

  • Zhang Yue, Founder and Chairman, Broad Group

  • Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chairman, Yunus Centre

  • Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair, The Elders (Honorary Leader), first woman Prime Minister of Norway

  • Mary Robinson, Secretary, The Elders and President, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice (Honorary Leader), first woman President of Ireland.

Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella is a staff writer for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute.