Capitalism - a conversation starter with Diane Francis


In a recent talk at the Sauder School of Business, Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large at Canada’s National Post newspaper, concluded that, frankly, capitalism is not working anymore.

The renowned business journalist spoke on “Capitalism in Crisis – Where to for Management Education,” in a conversation hosted by Sauder’s Canaccord Learning Commons.

Francis attributed capitalism's recent woes to a lack of regulation, which allowed for corporate immorality to take seed, citing white collar fraudsters such as Bernie Madoff and fellow National Post columnist Conrad Black. 

“I don’t know what you think. People can’t be left to their own devices,” she said. “In 2008, the world actually went bankrupt because of the business practices that went awry in the U.S. and elsewhere.” 

The global financial crisis changed the world order, and there is no going back, according to Francis. She explained that the “new normal” is the great markdown of the Western world, which now struggles with huge deficits and record unemployment. Meanwhile, emerging markets are flourishing in a period of higher growth and comparatively lower debt. 

Although she said that the U.S. would not remain a superpower, Francis did not rule out its continued financial impact. “It will still be the world number one economy due to socioeconomic factors,” she said. 

In her home base of Toronto, Francis urges budding entrepreneurs to head to Western Canada. “I don’t care what you’re doing, go there. You can jump 20 years ahead in your career,” she said. 

For MBA students, she offered words of wisdom too on how to get on in an often complex economic environment. Develop a moral compass, work hard, be flexible, polite, and a team player, a trait she said business education already emphasizes. “You don’t have to be a social butterfly,” Francis concluded, “you have to be collaborative.”