What Does it Profit?

What Does It Profit Podcast

What Does It Profit is a relatively new podcast series and more hosted by Dr. Dawn Carpenter. Of course, the name of her podcast derives from the Biblical reference (Mark 8:36): What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

Carpenter argues we can’t put our price tag on what matters most. The Economics of Biodiversity by Partha Dasgupta (commissioned by the UK government) provides evidence. According to the report, current financial investments in natural capital are about 0.1% of global GDP (about $78­–143 billion per year).

At the same time, global governments spend around $500 billion on subsidies and investments that are harmful to biodiversity. Private finance devoted to biodiversity ranges between $6.6 billion to $13.6 billion. Financing for activities harmful to natural assets totaled about US$2.6 trillion in 2019.  Our current ecological footprint requires 1.6 earths but we only have one. What does it profit mankind to gain our modern lifestyle if we lose our salubrious environment?

Can we align growing returns with the greater good? Former investment banker turned business ethicist Dr. Dawn Carpenter believes we can — and that figuring out how just might save the world. Carpenter is excellent at drawing out the unique perspectives and contributions of her guests.  Catch up on all episodes.

What Does It Profit Podcast: A Few Recent Episodes

Corporate Democracy from the Inside Out (James McRitchie)

The winds of change are blowing in corporate governance. Where will they take us? Time will tell. This week we have a shareholder perspective from a man whose name is well-known in the investor relations offices of many of the most well-known corporations in America. We like to call him a dean of the Shareholder Rights Movement, others like to call him a corporate gadfly. You decide corporate gadfly or an inside progenitor of the next generation of capitalism. Shareholder Activist, James McRitchie.

In 2020, JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon’s tenure at the helm of the Business Roundtable expired. But what about this whole new way of doing business? In 2021, shareholder activists put the stakeholder governance paradigm to the test, and JP Morgan said, no. The whole issue got us thinking. It’s time for an update on this new vision for a stakeholder approach to corporate governance. We talk with someone very familiar with what’s been going on, Reuter’s corporate governance reporter, Jessica DiNapoli.

In this episode, we explore the idea that everyone who has retirement assets should have the ability to know where their money is invested and how it has an impact in the world. With knowledge comes power– the power to make sound economic and moral decisions. Our guest is Congressman Andy Levin, Vice-Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee and author of legislation that could make that happen.

Transcending Robinhood: Finance for Good? (JC de Swaan)

In this episode, we’re not talking about bulls or bears.  We’re talking about the big, fat elephant in the room.  The finance industry is ethically-conflicted. We talk with JC de Swaan, hedge fund investor and Princeton finance ethicist, about Robinhood, Wirecard, and a few other notable companies– as a way to frame how to do finance better.  The hope is to inspire the idea that finance can be a force for good.

What Does It Profit Podcast: Subscribe

Search for What Does it Profit on Apple Media Services, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you download your podcasts. Learn more about Dr. Dawn Carpenter on the Uncertain Things podcast. “We talk to Dawn about the morality of capitalism, her theological studies, and how it applies to her work, and try to pull back the curtain on the mystical Oz-like machinations of our economy.”

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