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He is acclaimed as one of the worlds best guru’s of marketing. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, the celebrated guru of marketing speaks not about marketing but about his other passion: Conscious Capitalism.
Q: It’s taken the US almost over 100 years to come, even start being aware of something like what you are talking about because we have got your movement; we have got the movement towards green, in India of course at the government level we have got the whole movement towards inclusive growth. It’s taken the US 100 years – we are still a young, a slightly rowdy capitalist country. So how much more difficult is it going to be here?
A: I think it is a challenge but by no means is it an insurmountable challenge. Again as I said there are lessons to be learnt, why repeat the mistakes. India cannot afford to make the mistakes of traditional capitalism. We do not have the vast amounts of land and water and so forth to waste like maybe the US did with a much smaller population and a much larger landmass.
We simply cannot afford; our people are too vulnerable, our environment is too fragile and we cannot afford the businesses as usual.
Q: Till business is enlightened how much regulation do you think would be needed in a country like India?
A: As I said with a light hand, the right kind of nudges in the right direction certainly helps. For e.g. in the US we are talking about a change in the capital gains taxation law so that if you hold a stock for a short period of time you should get taxed at a higher rate as opposed to people who are patient investors.
So little changes like that, some changes in the corporate governance types of how companies are set up and how they can be in fact explicitly stakeholder oriented. Those are the kinds of changes that are happening. But again you do not need to wait for those because these companies are doing it without any changes in the regulatory or in terms of the corporation law.
So we do not have to have those but certain small nudges in this direction would be beneficial. Ultimately, in the market place nothing succeeds like success. So these companies will out compete and outperform and therefore others will emulate. That process may take 30-50 years. What we are trying to do is catalyze that.
Q: And you've got the numbers and you have a more powerful argument than is the numbers that you got to show how these companies have outperformed?
A: That is one of our arguments. We do not what to get stuck in the fact that they outperform financially. There is a much bigger story there. But that is sort of an opening argument that gets peoples’ attention and then we tell them a little more.
And that is what we are hoping to do with the conference that we have in March in Mumbai at the Taj. We are going to address this issue head-on. This in-built, sort of cynical response to this and say now this is the place, this is the time when this is actually most critically needed in India. We do not need to go down that road of making those mistakes and then 30-40 years later having had them multiply into much larger problems and trying to correct them.
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