The state has an inside/outside strategy. The good Capitalist is about how they carry it out.
From the outside: Aslak Skancke and Kamil Zabielski work at the national Council on Ethics. They investigate the accusations against the companies: From Lockheed Martin’s cluster-bomb production to The Freeport Gold mine’s pollution in New Guinea to Wal-Mart’s treatment of its employees. In The Good Capitalist they investigateaccusations against two big multinational corporations operating in India. Monsanto and Bayer and their use of child labour. Aslak and Kamil travel anonymously and visit production sites unannounced. If the companies have no good explanation for their behaviour, they advise the Minister of Finance to sell the shares. The Council is able to hurt the companies severely because their verdict is published. That happened to Wal-Mart. 20 of the main investors in Europe alone claim to follow the Council’s recommendations and sell their stocks too. In The Good Capitalist Monsanto and Bayer are in trouble.
From the inside: Henrik Syse.
The Bank of Norway hires philosopher Henrik Syse to work with the companies from within. His colleagues tease him and call him the angel, our ethical alibi. Henrik enters into dialogue with the boards in the multinational companies. He aims to put and end to their use of child labour.
In The Good Capitalist Henrik starts to work with the same companies as the Council on Ethics investigates. But Henrik’s approach is different. He travels to India too, but he tries to influence the companies to change behaviour. But will the big companies like Monsanto and Bayer listen to mere philosopher? After all he is backed by $300 000 000 000.
The Council on Ethics ability to sell the shares is a hidden threat, if the big companies don’t listen to him.