Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Seattle Student Wins Wake Forest Capitalism Essay Contest

Louis Brotherton, a senior finance major from Seattle, is the winner of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism's 2012 Essay Contest: “The Conscience of Business: What is the Role of Business Today?”
Students were challenged to write about issues raised during a “Capitalism with a Conscience” event at Wake Forest in January that featured Whole Foods Market co-CEO, Walter Robb. Brotherton won a $1,500 prize for an essay that presented a logical argument as to how the system of capitalism enables, and in fact encourages, the simultaneous pursuit of both corporate and social goals.
Brotherton argued that:
• Business organizations come into being through the exercise of liberty by individuals who start them. They succeed or fail based on the exercise of liberties by various stakeholders who assess the values created and who choose to transact with them or not.
• Although there are instances of unethical conduct by individuals and occasionally by organizations, these are exceptions.
• The ethics of capitalism are predicated upon integrity and cooperation. Capitalism creates the incentive to cooperate, and the natural checks and balances of capitalism keep self-interest and ethical lapses in check.
Four other students received “honorable mentions” and $50 Whole Foods gift cards.
“Every year the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism offers the opportunity for Wake Forest students to weigh in on important questions about contemporary topics in our civil discourse,” said Page West, a professor at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business and the director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism.
“This year’s contest attracted a large number of entries from students across various fields of study," West said. "Faculty from across the campus served as judges in a ‘blind review’ process where the judges have no information about the student. Congratulations to Louis and thank you to Whole Foods and the faculty judges for making this year’s contest such a success.”


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