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Some CEOs try to be ethical. Most of them can't or won't, says "The Enlightened Capitalists" author James O'Toole.

James O'Toole, a professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his book, The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good. O'Toole discusses the first such "enlightened capitalist," British industrialist Robert Owen; why, like Owen, do-gooder CEOs can't or won't make change today; and the history of the belief that corporations only exist to serve the shareholder. He also talks about how Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey's battle with values-adverse shareholders forced him to sell the company Amazon, and why a growing number of small companies are writing their ethical values into legally binding paperwork.

Featuring:

James O'Toole, professor emeritus at USC

Host:

Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), Recode co-founder and editor-at-large

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