This month’s Partner’s Essay is prepared by Mr. S. O.
The TOB deal by Cerberus Gr. to Seibu HD should remind many people of the one between Still Partners and Sapporo HD. My position is middle of the road regarding which side is right, but what I feels most is that, this time the number of opinions which supportshareholders is getting less than before. We have given a hard look at time like Lehman Shock, and we feel that the society is becoming stratified due to putting the shareholders policy first. As the result of these hardships, it seems that the opinion, which put shareholders in the latter position, is increasing.
Though future history will judge whether the decision is right or not, some companies have decided to increase salaries and bonuses to support Abenomics, which is thought to bring about a good outcome to resolve macroeconomic problems in Japan. This trend can be judged as an improvement of the society attaching too much emphasis on shareholders. Compared to 10 years ago or so, I feel I am living in a completely different age. When I think about some people like Hajime Kitano, they have started to have doubts about the concept of the cost of capital, although it is possible that I was the one who was in the dark.
I think that such a trend is a proof that capitalism itself is moving toward the direction of social investment. With so much currency being printed all over the world, there is always a chance that unfounded bubble economy can happen somewhere and cause someone a great loss, but it seems that in the mainstream economy there has been a shift towards social investment. TOYOTA Motor Corp. finally welcomes unprecedented outside director and Shiseido Gr. stops conducting an experiment on animals; these changes depict the shift. I am quite confident that ‘CSV Marketing’, as TOYOTA Aqua Social Fes appeals, which I mentioned in the last editorial note, should be mainstreamed in the future in developed countries.
Society and business firms are stepping in the direction of what ARUN believes in and work towards, whereas the bottleneck that is slowing the change may be the investors themselves. Many investors still stick to a dogma that their principal should be secured but at the same time they are interested in dealing in a bull market. Therefore it is highly possible that they may suffer a loss, as they do not fully understand what capitalism really is. It is understandable that the companies don’t want to make a decision to do so, because the management becomes harder if the capital is dispersed, but for listed companies, they should at least have distributed stock as salaries and bonuses. That would have contributed to a better understanding of the equity culture among Japanese people. The correspondence between employees and investors is one of the important themes that should be discussed not only in India, as Mr. Takano reported last time, but also in Japan. I think social investment can move on to the next level with a larger scale when employees in Japan realize they are also capitalists.