CAPITALISM AND THE social good are not irreconcilable, and free markets and human freedoms go hand in hand. Don't heed this low-rent blogger. Listen to Peter Thiel, the billionaire entrepreneur hedge fund guy, PayPal co-founder, Facebook director, Stanford University grad and longtime libertarian. Regardless of your politics, more should follow his contrarian lead: Think for yourselves. His simple message in a recent interview with The Street? There are no excuses for business leaders to stand on the sidelines and ignore crimes against humanity:
"The Street: 'What responsibility does the business community -- and successful entrepreneurs like yourself -- have to support philanthropic and advocacy efforts? When global politics get involved, does that scare some away and, if so, how can they be convinced otherwise?'
"Thiel: 'There are no sidelines in the struggle for dignity and freedom. Those who know what goes on in the world cannot sit back and expect government or some other abstract organization to handle it. The U.N. was created on the ashes of the Nazi deathcamps with the promise of Never Again. Yet it has happened over and over again: Cambodia, Sudan, Rwanda, Kosovo, North Korea. If we want peace in the world, individuals must accept responsibility and participate. The smart business leader knows this.' "
- The Street, "Peter Thiel Urges Investing in Human Rights" by Joe Mont.
- Reason, "Technology Is at the Center: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Peter Thiel on Liberty and Scientific Progress" by Ronald Bailey.
- Fast Company, "Peter Thiel Gives Whiz Kids $100K To Quit College, Start Businesses" by Anya Kamenetz.