The power of conscious capitalism: how business transforms society for good


In today’s world, capitalism often receives its fair share of criticism. However, it is important to recognize that free enterprise capitalism, when practiced with a conscious mindset, can be a force for positive change. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of conscious capitalism and discuss why business, when rooted in voluntary exchange and ethical practices, has the potential to create tremendous value, elevate our existence, and alleviate poverty. We will also shed light on instances where businesses deviate from these principles, leading to ethical concerns.

Creating value and wealth

At its core, capitalism generates value by promoting innovation, competition, and efficiency. By encouraging individuals and businesses to pursue profit, free enterprise capitalism fuels creativity and the development of groundbreaking products and services. This value creation fosters economic growth, job opportunities, and ultimately enhances living standards.

Ethical foundations of voluntary exchange

At the heart of free enterprise capitalism lies the ethical principle of voluntary exchange. Voluntary exchange is the notion that all economic transactions should occur willingly, with the mutual consent and benefit of all parties involved. This ethical foundation serves as a guide for businesses and ensures that they prioritize certain key aspects.

In a system based on voluntary exchange, businesses recognize the importance of satisfying customer needs and preferences. They strive to understand their target audience, develop products or services that align with customer demands, and deliver value that meets or exceeds expectations. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, businesses build trust, foster long-term relationships, and cultivate brand loyalty.

Voluntary exchange requires businesses to establish fair and transparent pricing structures. Pricing should be based on factors such as production costs, market dynamics, and competitive forces. Businesses should avoid engaging in price manipulation, price fixing, or any other practices that exploit consumers or undermine market fairness.

Ethical businesses are committed to providing products and services at reasonable prices that reflect their value proposition. They strive to strike a balance between generating profits and offering affordability to customers. This commitment to fair pricing fosters trust and ensures that economic transactions occur on a level playing field.

By adhering to the ethical foundations of voluntary exchange, businesses demonstrate their commitment to integrity, customer-centricity, and long-term sustainability. This ethical conduct not only enhances the reputation and credibility of businesses but also fosters a positive business environment where customers can trust that their needs will be met and their rights respected.

Limited consumer choice in energy and banking industries

Some industries have been criticized for deviating from the principles of voluntary exchange, often leaving consumers with limited or no choice.

Energy companies

The unethical nature of the business practices of energy companies lies in the fact that consumers do not have a choice whether to buy electricity or not. Unlike many other goods and services, electricity has become an essential necessity in modern life. People rely on electricity for heating, cooling, lighting, communication, healthcare, and numerous other critical functions.

This lack of choice creates a power imbalance between energy companies and consumers. Energy companies can exploit this situation by charging higher prices, providing subpar service quality, or imposing unfair terms and conditions. Consumers are left with no option but to purchase electricity at any price, as their daily lives and well-being depend on it.

The profitability of energy companies in such circumstances can be seen as unethical because they benefit from the basic need and dependence of consumers, leveraging it to maximize their own financial gain. This exploitative behavior disregards the principles of fair and voluntary exchange, as consumers are forced into transactions without meaningful alternatives or the ability to negotiate terms.

Furthermore, this lack of choice disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, including low-income households, who may struggle to afford the high cost of electricity. It perpetuates a cycle of energy poverty, where individuals and families are unable to access and afford essential energy services, leading to compromised living standards, health issues, and limited opportunities for economic advancement.

Addressing the unethical nature of the energy sector requires a concerted effort to promote competition, encourage alternative energy sources, and regulate pricing practices. By fostering a more competitive marketplace, where consumers have meaningful choices and options for accessing electricity, the power imbalance can be mitigated, and unethical practices can be curbed.


In today’s world the banking sector plays a vital role in facilitating economic transactions and providing financial services. Thus, it is important to highlight the unethical nature of certain banking practices. One such practice is the discretionary right of banks to refuse to open an account for a person. This can create a situation where individuals are unable to have a bank account, which has become increasingly necessary in modern economies where non-cash transactions are the norm.

The denial of a bank account can have far-reaching consequences for individuals. Without a bank account, it becomes challenging to receive salaries, make electronic payments, pay taxes, or engage in basic financial activities. This lack of access to banking services can hinder individuals’ ability to participate fully in the economy, manage their finances, and even exclude them from certain opportunities or benefits that require a bank account.

This practice puts individuals in a vulnerable position, as they are at the mercy of the banks’ discretion. The ability of banks to deny someone a basic banking service without just cause undermines the principles of fairness, equal opportunity, and inclusive financial access. It creates a situation where individuals are at a disadvantage and can be excluded from the benefits and conveniences that come with having a bank account.

To address the unethical nature of this practice, it is important to advocate for policies and regulations that promote financial inclusion and ensure that access to basic banking services is available to all individuals. Banks should be held accountable for their decisions regarding the opening of accounts and should have clear and transparent criteria for denying account access, based on legitimate reasons such as proven fraud or non-compliance with legal requirements.

Moreover, efforts should be made to provide alternative banking options for individuals who are denied access to traditional bank accounts. This could involve promoting the development of community-based financial institutions or exploring innovative financial technologies that offer money remittance services to underserved populations.


While free enterprise capitalism holds immense potential to create value, elevate our existence, and alleviate poverty, it is crucial to promote conscious capitalism that adheres to the principles of voluntary exchange and ethical practices. By fostering competition, ensuring consumer choice, and promoting transparency, businesses can contribute to a more equitable and prosperous society. Furthermore, it is essential for consumers to be aware of instances where businesses deviate from these principles, empowering themselves to make informed choices and hold companies accountable for their actions. Through conscious capitalism, we can harness the power of business for the greater good of individuals, communities, and the world at large.

Here are a few examples of banks that have faced criticism for refusing to open bank accounts for customers without providing clear reasons:

  1. JPMorgan Chase: In 2021, JPMorgan Chase faced backlash when several customers reported that the bank had closed their accounts without explanation. Many of these customers claimed to have long-standing relationships with the bank and had been using their accounts for years. The sudden closure of accounts without providing specific reasons raised concerns about transparency and fair treatment of customers.
  2. Bank of America: Bank of America has also faced criticism for its refusal to open bank accounts for certain individuals without offering clear justifications. In 2020, the bank was accused of discriminatory practices when it denied account access to customers based on their immigration status or lack of Social Security numbers. These actions were seen as a violation of equal opportunity and inclusive financial access.
  3. Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo, as mentioned earlier, has been involved in several controversies, and one of them includes cases where the bank refused to open accounts for customers without providing valid reasons. In some instances, customers reported being denied accounts due to past credit issues, despite having adequate funds and meeting other requirements. These incidents raised concerns about the bank’s transparency and fair treatment of customers.
  4. TD Bank: TD Bank faced criticism in 2020 when it refused to open a bank account for a transgender customer. The customer, who had legally changed their gender marker, provided all the necessary identification documents but was denied an account solely based on their transgender status. This incident sparked outrage and accusations of discrimination against TD Bank, highlighting the importance of fair and inclusive practices in banking.
  5. Barclays: In 2019, Barclays faced backlash when it was revealed that the bank had closed the accounts of several remittance companies without clear explanations. These remittance companies facilitated international money transfers for customers, particularly those sending money to their families in other countries. The sudden closure of accounts disrupted the services provided by these companies and affected the individuals relying on them. The lack of transparent communication from Barclays regarding the account closures raised concerns about the bank’s accountability and fair treatment of customers.

Here are few examples of an energy companies that have faced criticism for taking advantage of their market position and energy crises to make significant profits:

  1. Enron Corporation: In the early 2000s, Enron, a Houston-based energy company, was involved in one of the most notorious corporate scandals in history. Enron manipulated energy markets and engaged in fraudulent accounting practices to artificially inflate its profits. The company created complex financial structures and used off-balance-sheet entities to hide debt and manipulate energy prices. During the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, Enron took advantage of the deregulated energy market in California and engaged in market manipulation to drive up electricity prices. The company engaged in practices such as “gaming the system” by creating artificial shortages and withholding power supply to drive up prices. This resulted in skyrocketing energy costs for consumers and rolling blackouts in the state.
  1. Griddy: In February 2021, Texas experienced an unprecedented winter storm that led to widespread power outages and a surge in electricity prices. During this crisis, Griddy, an electricity retailer, came under scrutiny for its pricing practices. Griddy operates as a wholesale electricity provider, offering customers access to real-time electricity prices. However, when the storm hit and wholesale electricity prices spiked due to increased demand and reduced supply, Griddy passed on the soaring costs directly to its customers. Griddy’s pricing model, which exposed customers to wholesale market fluctuations, resulted in some customers receiving exorbitant electricity bills amounting to thousands of dollars. This sparked outrage among consumers who were already grappling with the impacts of the winter storm.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information, which may or may not be correct, complete or current at the time of reading. No recipients of content from this site should act on the basis of content of the article without seeking appropriate legal advice or other professional counselling.

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