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Education

Tokyo and Barcelona business schools explore future of capitalism

New program offered to test stakeholder-based market model

Shizenkan teaches innovative management and offers a master's degree in business administration. (Photo courtesy of Shizenkan)

TOKYO -- Tokyo's Shizenkan University and Spanish IESE Business School in Barcelona will team up to offer a program focusing on the future of capitalism amid the coronavirus.

The two business schools will provide future leaders the opportunity to discuss issues facing capitalism and propose their own vision of an improved version of the economic system.

Called the Future of Capitalism, the program will let students explore key issues facing capitalist societies with luminaries such as Mark Thompson, former head of the New York Times and BBC, and Francesco Vanni d'Archirafi, former CEO of Citi Holdings. The course will also feature former street kids and child soldiers who have been affected by capitalism.

The three-month online course is targeting around 80 students from more than 20 countries and regions who are currently enrolled at IESE, Shizenkan, India's School of Inspired Leadership and Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil. It hopes to welcome students from other colleges next year.

"Even before the coronavirus, capitalism had already reached a turning point," said Tomoyoshi Noda, chair of Shizenkan University, in an interview with Nikkei. "But the pandemic has expanded the [economic] distortions brought on by capitalism. The gap [between rich and poor] has widened." He went on to say "this reflects the fact that educational institutions are not functioning properly."

The Future of Capitalism program will be held online and direct future business leaders to formulate ways to improve the capitalist model. (Photo courtesy of Shizenkan)

Noda aims to nurture business leaders in the mold of former Unilever CEO Paul Polman, who is a staunch advocate of corporate responsibility. He also stands out as the only business leader who took part in drafting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Polman will be introduced toward the end of the program, when students submit a presentation on the current state of capitalism and suggest how businesses can shape its future. The presentation will be reviewed by Polman, Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Japanese beverage company Suntory, James Higa, executive director of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, and Balasubramanian Muthuraman, former CEO of Tata Steel.

Founded in 2018, Shizenkan concentrates on innovative management and offers a master's degree in business administration in design and leadership for societal innovation. Unlike many business schools that teach based on a capitalist model, Shizenkan is veering away from a shareholder-centered system.

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