Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top job in CSR should be paying the right amount of taxes

Dear Colleagues

There is something wrong when every government on the planet is short of money to do what needs to be done.

There are some people who are of the view that government has no business doing anything ... but this is a fringe constituency whose views are very much in conflict with the history of humanity as I understand it. Throughout history, people have self organized and created systems of governance ... in recent times it has become central to modern society and all sorts of things and services are delivered via government. Without these things and these services modern society does not work.

These things and these services have to be paid for. Accordingly, I would argue that a top job in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be paying the right amount of taxes.

There is a very legitimate debate about what things and what services a government needs to supply ... but nothing is the wrong answer ... and everything is about as bad.

There is another very legitimate debate about getting government to do things efficiently and effectively. There is ample evidence that governments are not very good at doing things efficiently, and there is every reason for society to find this unacceptable.

My work has a focus on socio-economic performance, and the quality of decision making is key to good performance ... as well as accountability. I would like to see the CSR community get interested in the efficiency and effectiveness of government goods and service delivery ... and in having all the stakeholders in the society pay their fair share ... the right amount ... of taxes.

The question about what is the right amount should be the subject of vigorous debate ... and there should be meaningful metrics that inform this debate. Far too many corporate organizations pay too little taxes while consuming the services of government ... and the metrics about these things is totally inadequate.

This is not a local problem ... it is a universal problem. It is a problem that will get worse as time goes on, and is quite irresponsible on the part of the "so-called" corporate leadership of this generation.

I am pretty mad about this ... and would like the emerging Burgess Method for Value Accounting to be helpful in addressing these matters sooner rather than later.


Peter Burgess

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