This class takes a deep and bracing dive into the growing Impact movement, which aims to proliferate business organizations that deliver both financial and social returns. The course also calls attention to a less widely noted third category of return for those participating in the Impact Economy: the personal fulfillment that comes from pursuits with greater meaning and social significance.
This class considers the legal, financial, and economic features of high social impact capitalist enterprise in the contemporary United States. The class discusses socially impactful for-profit enterprises and the challenges they face, not least of which are financial; the novelty of business models in which financial and social returns reinforce each other; and the tension between shareholder and stakeholder value maximization in for-profit companies. The class also considers the role of financial markets and investor preferences, and ultimately the implications for management, labor, and other stakeholders in socially impactful firms. The class is cross-disciplinary, covering topics in law, economics, business, philosophy and public policy, and requires various written assignments, including a team-based final project.
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