Salesforce founder Marc Benioff says ‘capitalism as we know it is dead’

‘“I really strongly believe that capitalism as we know it is dead…that we’re going to see a new kind of capitalism and that new kind of capitalism that’s going to emerge is not the Milton Friedman capitalism that’s just about making money.’

Marc Benioff

Salesforce.com Inc. CRM, +0.52% co-CEO Marc Benioff said that capitalism in America is under siege and could be dying because stakeholders want more than merely profits from their companies.

“If the highest value [you anchor your company around] isn’t trust, then every key stakeholder — your employees, your customers and your investors — will walk out,” Benioff said during a fireside chat at TechCrunch on Thursday in San Francisco.

Comments from the founder of the giant cloud-computing and workforce-services company come as a number of high-profile investors and politicians have assailed capitalism, considered by some the most powerful source of economic and social advancement in human history.

Angus Deaton, a 2015 Nobel laureate in economics and Princeton University professor, recently wrote that capitalism is “visibly sick,” and that a push toward socialism or Democratic socialism, is growing in America.

“The virus of socialism has re-emerged and is infecting the young once more,” he wrote.

Hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio in recent reports, including on MarketWatch, has said that capitalism is no longer working for most Americans. However, the founder of Bridgewater Associates LP. recommends “urgent reform,” rather than ditching it altogether.

A widening gap between wealth Americans and those at or near poverty also has been a key driver for the philosophical push toward socialism. That is even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.90% the S&P 500 SPX, +0.92% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.94% indexes have been climbing steadily since the 2008-09 financial crisis.

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