Is it okay to be profitable at the expense of being socially responsible? Shoe maker Birkenstock has chosen good over money and Michael Lewis takes the company to task for it in this week's New York Times Magazine.
Social awareness is an issue that weighs on the minds of many corporate executives these days as the pressure for companies to look good in the public eye looms larger than ever. But small businesses, Lewis argues (Free registration to NYTimes.com required) have little reason to think about giving back to the community: they should focus on growth and when they get big, then they can think about giving back.
This issue has no easy answers. But is Birkenstock doing the right thing, while Lewis, the good capitalist that he is, blinded by the gleaming light of cash? Or is it Birkenstock in the wrong, and the one that should get its priorities straight by thinking a bit harder about the bottom line?