There is growing coverage in the media of Costco and Trader Joe’s demonstrating that it is possible to remain in the retail business in America while taking care of your people.
We applaud the sentiment, but we wonder if everyone hailing the labor practices of these companies recognizes a simple fact: both of these models prove that capitalism, properly managed, works well.
These companies are growing – and drawing business away from their less enlightened competitors – in no small part because their people are happier, and because of the difference that makes across the organization. And they did it all without being required to do so by law.
The road to a better form of capitalism is not through creating an entirely new, expensive, and self-interested regulatory infrastructure to guide it. Rather, it is through us directing our custom to companies that can set an example for the future, investing our funds accordingly, and by laying out codes of conduct to which we insist companies adhere.